Nathan Ryan of Bangor checked in a few days ago, curious to see if our BDN Biggest Bucks contest was still taking entries.
Unfortunately, we weren’t — the deadline had passed.
But fortunately, the 41-year-old hunter was willing to share his story with us anyway. And the deer he took on Nov. 14 was pretty special.
“I have been hunting on an old logging road off the Golden Road [which heads west out of Millinocket] the last three years. A friend and I put three or four tree stands up in the area,” Ryan explained in an email.
Ryan grew up in Millinocket, and the Golden Road is a major logging road that heads west out of town, stretching all the way to the Quebec border.
“Another friend who passed away suddenly at age 52 four years ago had [another] tree stand down off that trail aways and that stand had been in there a lot of years,” he wrote.
This year, another friend heard that logging operations were going to be taking place in the area, so he went in and took down the stands, Ryan wrote. The logging didn’t take place, so Ryan and his pal went back in and set another stand on the main trail.
Their new location wasn’t ideal, though, and frustration set in.
“He took the stand down and [decided to] put it where our friend who passed away had his stand,” Ryan wrote. “The next day I made it in there around 7 a.m. I was sitting there watching the birds when I looked to my left and caught the movement of the deer’s face coming through the woods about 150 yards away.”
Ryan waited a bit for a better shot and eventually — after more than a couple of shots, he admits — took advantage of the opportunity.
Then he contacted his friend and told him the good news.
“It wasn’t until we got back to [the deer] that he realized how nice it really was,” Ryan wrote. “I really didn’t know, but I figured it had to [weigh] over 200.”
He was right. The duo didn’t want to field dress the deer where it was because other friends had been hunting in the area, and they didn’t want to draw coyotes and foul up someone else’s hunt.
The live, or “on the hoof” weight was 313 pounds. Field-dressed, it tipped the scales at 261.
And the deer sported a massive nine-point rack.
Ryan said that when he first arrived at the deer, his reaction was what you might expect.
“I walked around in circles, repeatedly saying, ‘I can’t believe it,'” he wrote. “[It’s] still hard to believe.”