Editors Blog

No Mistaking This Monster Buck

This hog-bodied buck earned the nickname “Fat Albert” based off of his huge torso. (photo courtesy of Steve Bartylla)

A few things have always amused me when hunting so-called “management” bucks. First, the mere term is misleading. When some folks say “management,” the implication might be the deer is somehow inferior. As far as I’m concerned, that’s never the case because all bucks are good bucks in my view. In the same light, naming deer has always amused me. I always thought that was kind of pretentious … almost giving these deer pet-like status. Over the years, however, I learned that it is actually very helpful for larger property owners to keep tabs on specific deer by assigning them names. For example, if you have several 8-pointers running around, it’s nearly impossible to track of them without referring to them with a name based off of a characteristic.

Such was the case with my recently concluded gun-hunt in Illinois. I was again hunting with longtime D&DH contributor Steve Bartylla on a very large property he manages. On the night before the hunt, Steve gave me a thumb-drive of photos and videos of six different bucks that I would be allowed to target during this hunt. One of those bucks was aptly dubbed “Fat Albert.” He was a mainframe 9-point with an extra tine coming off of his left beam. The buck’s rack would be distinctive if I had enough time to look him over, but the telltale trait of this deer was his absolutely huge torso. This wasn’t a big buck, he was a hog-bodied deer of epic proportions!

The hunt went down almost as scripted on the first afternoon.

With D&DH TV producer David Gilane at my side in the blind, we spent a good portion of the late afternoon watching a mature doe feed peacefully in a beanfield. As dusk creeped closer, the doe got edgy. She went from oblivious to alert. For the next 30 minutes, the doe would feed for a few minutes then snap her head up and look toward the woods.

“Get ready,” I whispered to Gilane. “There’s definitely more deer coming, and the way she’s acting I bet there’s a buck in there.”

Before long, I spied movement back in the woods. “Deer!” I hushed. “Buck!”

He was already in prowl mode, nose to the ground like a bird dog, and keenly aware of the doe’s presence. She scooted farther into the field as he stepped into full view.

Binos shouldered, I immediately started counting points. Five on the left. Mainframe four on the right (I couldn’t see that flyer from my vantage point). Next step, analyze his body.

“Whoa! He is a hog! That’s Fat Albert for sure!”

One well-placed 20-gauge slug anchored him in that field, and the celebration began.

The mainframe 9-point was determined to be 5-1/2-year-old. (photo courtesy of Steve Bartylla)

The Golden Triangle region of Illinois is known for growing big bucks — both literally and figuratively. (photo by David Gilane)


Deer & Deer Hunting invites you to watch Saturday Night Deer Camp, only on Pursuit Channel.

Saturday Night Deer Camp is a primetime block of shows kicked off each week with the award-winning Deer & Deer Hunting TV. Hosted by Dan Schmidt, Gordy Krahn, Mark Kayser and Steve Bartylla, the show is in its 14th season and covers everything related to deer hunting, from tactics and strategy to gear, biology, great hunts and more.

Following DDH TV, you can watch Destination Whitetail, The Given Right with Kenneth Lancaster and then Land of Whitetail. These four shows make Saturday Night Deer Camp your must-watch viewing this year.

Check your local listings for Pursuit Channel. It’s also available now on AT&T U-Verse, Channel 1644, among other networks.

Saturday Night Deer Camp: It’s all about the people, the places and the camaraderie that make hunting a lifestyle. Only on the Pursuit Channel!