Young Michigan hunter claims prized Ohio buck
JACKSON, Ohio — There is nothing in the rules that addresses this, but 14-year-olds are not supposed to meet up with mythical bucks during deer season.
When they do, there is no real encore for the kid to perform during his next 50 or 60 years of hunting.
For now, that predicament suits Coby Fetting just fine. The eighth-grader from Michigan, likely a few years away from his first necessary shave, stole the show during Ohio’s recent two-day youth firearms hunting weekend, which took place before the full week of regular firearms hunting.
Coby, his father and the rest of their party were hunting a rolling agricultural tract near here that had a mixture of rye fields, pastures and hardwood plots. They were working with Southern Ohio Outfitters guide Dave Lusk, a native of the area who has been leading hunts with his company for almost 12 years.
The region has an established reputation for producing big bucks, but like most deer hunting hotspots, when a really unique deer shows up and hangs around a while, word spreads throughout the deer hunter community and the buck gets baptized with a nickname to signal its celebrity.
This one has been called “Wide Glide” based on its massive spread — antlers that are 28 inches wide at the main beams.
Trail cameras now allow hunters and guides to be many places at all times, and in recent years Wide Glide had his picture taken almost as often as Kim Kardashian.
“We’ve had thousands of pictures of him over a three-year time frame, but he always evaded us,” Lusk said.
Many experienced hunters were trying, covering a lot of ground and staking out what appeared to be Wide Glide’s favorite haunts, but with age came wisdom and Wide Glide made his movements nocturnally, taking on an almost ghost-like aura.
“It wasn’t until this year that he slipped up and made some mistakes, and we were able to capitalize on that,” Lusk said.
Coby Fetting told Tom Gilchrist of the Tuscola County Advertiser newspaper, which covers Fetting’s hometown of Caro, Mich., that Wide Glide was on the move in the section Fetting was hunting. Fetting and his father, Adam, were in a tree stand about 18 feet off the ground when the big buck appeared about midday on a Sunday.
Adam Fetting felt the deer, which likely was in pursuit of a doe in heat, was moving too swiftly for a good shot, so he let out a loud grunt. Wide Glide, likely sensing another buck could be in the area, reacted to this distraction.
When the deer stopped, the young hunter fired his muzzleloader from the tree stand.
“As soon as he hit the brakes, Coby pulled the trigger,” Adam Fetting said.
“I thought this deer was going to walk right out of our lives, because we couldn’t get a shot at him.”
The shot was estimated at 50 yards, and the buck on the receiving end is a 12-pointer that likely is five years old and weighed about 200 pounds.
Its unique and easily identifiable rack left no doubt this was Wide Glide.
After the mandatory drying period, it will officially be scored by a representative from the Boone and Crockett Club to determine if it has earned a spot on the roster of the biggest whitetail bucks harvested in the U.S.
Adam Fetting already has made up his mind: this is a very rare trophy.
“I’ve hunted around the country, and this is the biggest deer I’ve ever seen in the woods,” he told The Advertiser. “And I’ve shot some big deer, but nothing of this caliber.”
The elder Fetting said the perception in the field often does not match the reality in the taxidermy shop, but in the case of Wide Glide, the animal was every bit as impressive as expected.
“A lot of times you’ll think it’s a big buck and you shoot him, and you get up to him and he’s not as big as you think,” he said.
“This was totally opposite. I knew he was a big buck, but I didn’t realize he was a world-class buck. This deer grew. The closer we got to it, it was unbelievable.”
Right away, Fetting placed a call to Lusk to let him know the father-son team had just encountered this legendary deer, and Lusk asked him to be sure, since the area is home to a lot of big bucks.
“They’ve been hunting this deer for three-and-one-half years,” Adam Fetting said. “It’s been seen two times by bow hunters. They spotted it on trail cameras, but they thought this buck was never going to get shot. It was a notorious buck that they’ve been hunting, and hunting and hunting, and they just couldn’t get him.”
Adam Fetting told The Advertiser the hunt was fair-chase and took place on leased farmland, not in a fenced reserve.
By the time the huge buck was retrieved and removed from the woods, a crowd of about 35 had gathered to see the trophy.
“This will be a buck of a lifetime,” Adam Fetting said. “Guys hunt for years and they don’t even come close to shooting a buck like that. Coby’s very fortunate, but I give him all the credit. He’s very patient and a great shot, and a great hunter.”
Originally posted by MATT MARKEY at The BLADE OUTDOORS EDITOR
December 18, 2016 12:52 AM
Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6068