Ben Thibodeau of Brewer has been hunting in Maine for the past three years with his father-in-law, Byron Dill, and admits that until this year, he’d had exactly zero luck.
“The last two years, I never saw a deer on that property [that I was hunting on opening day],” Thibodeau said. [Dill] would go out if I was working, and he’d come back and say, ‘I saw five.’ Or, ‘I saw three does and a buck. I couldn’t get a shot. It was a small buck.’ And every time I went out, nothing.”
Thibodeau changed his luck on Saturday while hunting in Bucksport.
Boy, did he change his luck.
“There’s two blinds in a field that a friend of ours has, and I went to the lower one,” Thibodeau said. “[Dill] was in one that’s about 150 yards up the field from where I was.”
Thibodeau said he heard a noise he thought might be a deer and peeked out of his ground blind. On one side, he saw nothing. Then he shifted his gaze.
“There’s what looks like a patch of goldenrod or something, and then it kind of flinched,” he explained. “So I knew it was a deer.”
Eventually he saw the deer’s antlers, and he lined up a shot. Just after he fired, he saw another deer pop its head up, and realized there was more traffic in the area than he’d thought.
That’s when he heard Dill shoot.
Dill ended up missing his long-range shot into the sun, but Thibodeau didn’t. And after the duo met up in the field to discuss what happened, they saw an antler sticking out of the grass.
“I started pumping my fist — ‘Yeah! We got one!'” Thibodeau said. “We both get to the deer at the same time and [he says] a couple of expletives.”
At their feet was a deer with a most original rack, with two large drop tines and a number of other points.
“My jaw dropped,” Thibodeau said. “I couldn’t express [what I was feeling] because I’d never seen a deer that big in real life.”
Dill, who lives in Bucksport, is calling the deer a 19-pointer. Thibodeau said one of those points isn’t an inch long, so he’s calling it an 18-pointer. Either way, the rack was impressive.
The buck weighed 250 pounds, live weight, and dressed out at 197.8, including the heart.
And though Dill had captured photos of the deer on his trail camera, the pair quickly learned that others in the Millvale Road area had also taken note of the deer with the huge rack. In fact, they’d given it a nickname.
“The landowner said he had seen that deer for the past few years. It was kind of a local legend down there,” Thibodeau said. “When I got it, he came down and said, “Holy [expletive]. You got the Millvale Monster!”
The landowner helped load the deer onto a four-wheeler, and when Thibodeau and Dill took the deer to the tagging station, the real celebration started.
“When we got into town I could really start to understand how special this deer was, because people were driving by and turning around,” Thibodeau said. “Everybody who drove by said, ‘I’ve got to get a picture. Can I have a picture?'”
Thibodeau said at least 15 people told him it was the biggest deer, or the biggest rack, they’d ever seen.
Another told him it looked like something you’d see in Field & Stream magazine.
“It’s not something you see every day,” he summed up.
John Holyoke can be reached at jholyoke@bangordailynews or 990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke