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Archery hunter shoots massive 16-point buck

Joe Edlund of Bemidji shot this 16-point non-typical buck last week while archery hunting near the Bemidji Regional Airport. The antlers will probably measure about 195 in the Pope and Young scoring. Submitted Photo

Joe Edlund has spent much of his days as a sportsman perfecting his talents as an archery hunter.

During most of the deer hunting seasons he tags an animal for the freezer and another for the wall.

On Nov. 1, however, Edlund outdid himself in the latter category when he shot a massive 16-point buck.

"I have not personally seen the deer but, based on my experience, I would venture to say that we will see a deer like that in this area about once every five years," said DNR conservation officer Stacey Sharp who patrols southern Beltrami, northern Hubbard and parts of Clearwater counties.

"To shoot that deer with a bow and arrow really makes it unusual. In terms of a firearms kill a 16-pointer in this area is something special. But archery-wise, shooting a deer that large is a very big deal," Sharp added.

In recent years the City of Bemidji has offered a special archery hunt targeting the deer that live and roam near the Bemidji Airport. Edlund received one of the 25 tags for this year's special hunt and on the afternoon of Nov. 1 he was stationed in his tree near a swamp.

Edlund caught a glimpse of the deer through the brush but it took 15 minutes for the animal to work its way into a spot where the hunter could take a shot.

"When I saw him coming my way I admit that I had a case of buck fever," Edlund, who has about 20 deer mounts adorning his wall, said. "I had to take the time to talk myself down before taking a shot. I knew I had only one shot at the deer so I had to prepare."

When the time was right and when the deer offered a full profile from 23 yards away, Edlund fired.

"I could see the arrow penetrate and I could see it was a good hit," he said.

The deer ran about 50 yards before dropping.

Before he took the shot Edlund knew that this deer was something special but when he approached the fallen animal even he was stunned.

"I've never shot or seen anything like it," the veteran hunter said. "If I would have shot and missed I don't think anybody would have believed me when I told them how big it was."

Ironically, two days before Edlund shot the buck his friend barely missed a shot at the same animal. That shot just grazed the back of the animal's neck but never made solid contact.

"My friend's shot literally took the hair off the back of its neck and you could see missing hair where it nicked the deer," Edlund said.

Although Edlund never had seen this particular deer during a prior hunt, he knew it was living in the area.

Another friend, Jim Wynn Jr., found the deer's sheds last spring. At that time it had 18 scoreable points and it would have scored in the mid-190s.

This fall the antlers had 16 scoreable points.

"I'll do a preliminary scoring on Friday but I guess it still will be in the mid-190s," Edlund said.

The rack is non-typical with nine points on one side and seven on the other. To reach trophy size in Pope and Young (the scoring system for archery) a non-typical rack must score 175 points. The Boone and Crocket record book standard, which is the scoring system for firearms hunting, is 195 points.