Scott Pyle’s Buck of a Lifetime

Ask any veteran whitetail hunter about the biggest buck they’ve ever seen, and their response will probably be a very captivating, animated story. Stories that usually begin with; it was just breaking light on a foggy morning…it was spitting snow and ice on a cold November day… I had been hunting the swamp buck for three years…are all classical lines that fascinate inquisitive listeners around deer camp each year. Stories of such encounters that will be cherished and retold throughout a hunter’s life.

In order to have the opportunity of hunting a buck of lifetime, you first have to be in the same location that has the right habitat, genetics, and management program that allows a buck to get to its full potential. Heartland Lodge located in Pike County, Illinois has some of the most fertile, big buck producing ground in the Midwest. This is exactly what drew Scott Pyle and his son Christian to the Heartland Lodge.

They booked a hunt at the SCI show in Las Vegas in the winter of 2015. On opening day of Illinois shotgun season, Scott found himself in a ladder stand atop a hardwood ridgeline that ran than north and south, to the south of the stand, a thick, overgrown field that the deer were using as a bedding area. Just to the north of the stand, a pipeline cut out that ran east and west, followed by more hardwood draws. Scott Pyle’s guide, Mark Hively, had been watching a few really nice bucks crossing the pipeline cut out going in and out of the overgrown field. Either tending does, or scent checking the thicket looking for does.

DSCF1989 Scott’s morning started with a few smaller bucks chasing a doe through the hardwood bottoms. Scott new this was a good sign that a hot doe was in the area and was hopeful that a bigger buck would pick up her trail. Scott was prepared to sit all day, each day of his three day hunt. He just got done enjoying his sandwich and soda and was trying to stay awake at high noon. He picked up his binoculars and started glassing down into the timber when he caught a glimpse of something down in the brushy pipeline cut out. At first glance he thought it was a bush moving back in forth in the wind, and then the deer lifted his head up. Scott could see the whole left side of the massive rack, he knew at that moment that he was looking at a very nice buck. He reached for his muzzleloader and got ready.

Buck fever set in fast as he watched the behemoth slowly work towards his direction working his way through the bottom of the draw. The buck crept like a cat slowly and decisively through the timber, being contentious of every step it took, pausing next to only the biggest trees or thick brush listening intently for any unordinary, unnatural sounds, sometimes pausing for five or more minutes at a time. Scott watched the buck for 45 minutes, yet the deer had just moved 30 yards! Meanwhile, Scott was going through breathing exercises trying to calm his nerves. He frantically searched for a clear shooting lane down into the draw. Scott picked a small window in between two trees where he anticipated the buck was going to work through. As the monarch eased his way into the lane at 80 yards, Scott squeezed the trigger. A cloud of smoke was all Scott could see at first, moments later he watched a blur of a body train wreck down into the side of the ravine. Instinctively Scott reloaded his muzzleloader, trying to keep an eye on where he had last seen the buck. He readied his gun, and could make out the bucks antlers lying parallel with the ground, Scott’s buck of a lifetime lay motionless at the bottom of the draw.

DSCF1972 Scott new the buck was big, but until he got within a few yards of it he had no idea just how big. The buck was a main frame 10, with absolutely extraordinary mass that he carried all the way through to the tips of the tines. His mass was so impressive it actually made the buck look smaller from further way.  The smallest mass measurement at the base of the deer’s antlers was eight inches! The buck was aged at 6 ½ plus years old.

Deer hunters across the nation spend a lot of time thinking and dreaming about the opportunity of a world class whitetail. If you’re ever lucky enough to have such an encounter with a magnificent creature, the moments in time will be remembered and cherished for the rest of your life. Deer hunters are some of the best story tellers there are, spend just a few days at Heartland deer camp and you’ll not only have the possibility to have an encounter with a buck of a lifetime, but you’ll probably hear some great tales of other hunters past encounters with the biggest buck they’ve ever seen. The definitions of a buck of a lifetime come in many forms and are individualistic to the pursuer. When the opportunity of such a buck comes forth, whether you harvest the buck or not, be grateful for the experience because either way, you have a story to tell.

Congrats Scott on a buck of a lifetime!

-Zach Jumps

Last Updated: December 7th, 2015

6 thoughts on “Scott Pyle’s Buck of a Lifetime

  1. Zach, great job! My heart began racing again as I relived the experience through your article. So Well done!! I cannot thank you all enough and can’t wait till next year. Blessing, Scott

  2. If you hunt long enough you find you have the smallest part. The outfitter, Heartland Lodge has years of building a business and a facility and a land where long enough hunters like me can hunt trophy game. Master Guides like Matt have put the hard work in, years of work. They develop the land watch the game find the deer track them with endless trail cams and pattern these grey ghosts. Gary and Matt thank you from this hunter who still hasn’t hunted enough ever. Thank you and Bravo !

  3. Hello Gary and Matt,thanks for the update those trail cam pictures always get my heart pounding.Glad to hear you got the rain for the food plots.I’m getting a list of guestions for you the next time I call.I know you’ll be busy from now till the new year so I’ll wait an give you a call after New year’s. Have a great year and dont tell my 61/2 year old I’m coming I want it to be a surprise. Jim.

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