CHIPPEWA FALLS — After several years of tracking a prized deer, Joshua Gawrysiak shot the “buck of a lifetime” Nov. 10 in the northeast corner of Chippewa Falls.
The 19-point buck will be mounted and put on display at Scheels in Eau Claire.
“I’ll never shoot a deer like that again,” Gawrysiak said.
Gawrysiak, 32, of Eau Claire, said he shot the animal on private property near the EOG Resources sand plant. He added that he and other hunters have permission to hunt on the grounds.
“I’ve been hunting since I was 12 years old,” Gawrysiak said. “It’s been my passion.”
Gawrysiak said he was roughly 18 to 20 yards away from the buck when he struck him at 8:53 a.m. The cold temperatures of the morning proved to be a challenge, as Gawrysiak dropped his arrow trying to load his bow, before recovering in time to take the shot.
The prized buck was perhaps 5½ or 6½ years old. Gawrysiak said he first began tracking it in 2015, and had a good shot at him in the past but missed. Hunters in the area knew of his existence, but the buck had managed to elude them for years. That area of town has become more developed, particularly with the addition of the Mills Fleet Farm distribution center.
“This year, the deer became more visible. There are hundreds of people who knew about him this year,” he said.
Gawrysiak spent much of the past two weeks in the woods, tracking the buck. He passed on does, as well as a good-sized but smaller buck that Gawrysiak believes is the big buck’s offspring. Gawrysiak used a trail camera and knew that the big buck had been directly below his deer stand Nov. 9.
“I patterned him. I sat in that stand, knowing he’d be there,” he said. “You stand in the woods, freezing your butt off.”
When a doe went through the area near his deer stand the morning of Nov. 10, Gawrysiak got ready.
“I knew he’d follow her,” he said.
After hitting the shot, the buck ran off about 75 yards before it collapsed, he said.
The buck is impressive with its 19 points, but it had three or four points broken off as well. The animal showed signs of its age and living in an area in city limits — he had a broken leg, and was missing an eye. Gawrysiak believes the buck had recently been hit by a car but survived.
“He had really bad damage on his back end,” Gawrysiak said.
Gawrysiak said he’s opened a GoFundMe page to help offset the $3,000 cost of having the animal mounted.
“This deer has got to be one of the smartest deer there ever was,” Gawrysiak wrote on the page. “This is a majestic buck and deserves a full body mount. I’m capable for getting a shoulder mount, but this deer deserves way more than that. This deer is a legend.”
Gawrysiak said he was filled with emotions after finally landing the prized buck.
“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “It’s the buck of a lifetime.”
Vetter is a reporter for the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, which is owned by APG Media of Wisconsin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.