Cloquet bow hunter shoots huge buck
Carey Ferrell of Cloquet was the only person in the deer stand when he shot a huge 11-point buck this fall. But he doesn't think he was alone.
Ferrell was bow hunting in the Cloquet area on Sept. 28 when he shot a buck that field-dressed at 275 pounds. He's pretty sure it was the same buck that his late friend and cousin, Chris Campbell of Cloquet, had seen and missed last year.
Campbell died this spring at age 52 from cancer.
"He was my cousin and my best friend," said Ferrell, 44, a Cloquet police officer. "I was hunting at his place, on his stand. ... I think Chris was sitting with me that day."
Campbell hadn't planned to bow hunt last fall, Ferrell said.
"He knew he was dying," Ferrell said. "He said, 'Why should I hunt?' But I got him back into hunting. He wasn't going to shoot anything big, he said. But he called me one day after bow hunting and said, 'I just took a crack at the biggest buck I've ever seen in my life.'"
Ferrell had photos of a very large buck on his trail camera this summer, most recently from Aug. 28, he said. But he hadn't seen the buck in the woods until that Friday evening in September. A six-pointer and a spike buck had come in earlier, and the spike was still lingering when the big buck approached.
Ferrell drew back his bow and held it for two minutes and 10 seconds -- he checked the time later on his cap-mounted video camera -- while the two bucks sniffed each other behind some cover. Straining, he finally had to let off.
"It's a good thing that spike was there to distract him," Ferrell said.
Soon, the big buck lowered its head and smacked the spike with his antlers. The spike left. The big buck walked into a clearing. Ferrell was drawn and ready.
"I saw his rack and knew right away he was the big guy," Ferrell said. "He pretty much dwarfed that spike."
Ferrell let his arrow fly.
"I thought I hit him low," he said.
The buck bounded away.
Ferrell called his friend and fellow police officer Steve Fiske of Cloquet. Fiske advised him not to try to track the deer that evening.
"I let that puppy lay," Ferrell said.
He couldn't get off work until noon the following day. Fiske met him, and the two went back to the woods. They found the buck dead, lying 50 yards from where it had been shot. That day was Ferrell's birthday.
They weighed the buck on a spring scale meant for weighing heavy loads. Fiske zeroed the scale before they hung Ferrell's buck on it. It weighed 275 pounds.
"It was ridiculous. It was huge," Fiske said. "I've shot some big deer, but that thing was ridiculous.
Ferrell checked the scale the following day by putting a 20-pound weight on it. It proved accurate, he said.
The typical 11-pointer had six points on one side of its rack, five on the other.
The buck is at a taxidermist's shop now, being mounted.
Ferrell had started bow hunting when he was in high school, then gave it up for many years. He picked it up again about six years ago when his son expressed an interest in bow hunting.
Along the way, he has passed up some decent bucks.
"I've been picky," Ferrell said.
This buck was the first deer that Ferrell had killed with a bow.