Almost Busted: Caleb Hewitt's 2020 Archery Buck

Show Notes

It's almost deer season! Over the next couple of weeks, we're going to be bringing you success stories to get you in a whitetail state of mind!

In this episode of the Wisconsin Sportsman, Josh talks with Caleb Hewitt about the hunt for Caleb's 2020 archery buck. Caleb hunts a medium sized property in Wisconsin. While attempting a hang and hunt in 2020, Caleb's target buck ALMOST busted him as he was climbing the tree to hang his stand. Eventually the buck moved off. But would he come back? Tune in to hear how it aall went down!

Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant, outdoor content!

Connect with Josh and The Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast on Instagram.

Connect with the How to Hunt Deer Podcast on Instagram.

Connect with Caleb Hewitt on Instagram.

Show Transcript

Josh Raley: What is going on everyone? Welcome back to another episode of the Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast, which is brought to you by Tica. This is your home for all things outdoors in the Badger State, and I am your host. Josh Raley, we've got an awesome episode in store for you today. Over the next couple of weeks, we're gonna be sharing success stories from listeners of this [00:01:00] show to get you fired up for dear season.

On this week's episode, we've got Caleb Hewitt from Wisconsin talking about his 2020 buck. Now, I don't want to give away too much here in the intro, but Caleb had a couple of really great hunts, and on the day he finally found success on his 2020 buck, he almost got busted in the tree. Going in for a hanging hunt.

It's an awesome story and you can learn a lot from it. I know I certainly did. Caleb was an outstanding guest and actually after we talked about his 2020 buck, we talked about another buck that he took that was, uh, especially meaningful for a whole lot of reasons. So really looking forward to having Caleb on again so that we can discuss this other buck as well.

But for this week, we're gonna hear the story of his 2020 archery buck, and I hope it gets you just as fired up as it got me. Stay tuned. Get ready to share your hunt this season with the Tac Kimm solo Extreme point of view camera featuring one touch operation weatherproof housing, and mounts To fit any style of hunting, the solo extreme is sure to make filming your hunts foolproof [00:02:00] and hassle free.

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This tool will help you grab the right camo no matter what season or species you're hunting. To check out their full camo line, head over to hunt worth All right, joining me for this week's episode of the Wisconsin Sportsman Podcast. It's Caleb Hewitt. Caleb, what's going on man? Hey Josh.

Caleb Hewitt: Good to be here.

How are you?

Josh Raley: I'm doing well. Glad, uh, glad you came on the show, decided to give me a little bit of your time to share. The, uh, buck story that you have from 2020. I put out a, a thing on Instagram the other day, and it was a picture of me and a couple of guys wrestling my 2023 buck or 2022 buck into a, a sled trying to get it, you know, get it piled in there.

And I, I had this question, who wants to come on the show and share a [00:04:00] buck story? Because, you know, this is the time of year. Everybody's talking strategy, everybody's thinking early season. Everybody's, you know, getting tree stands hung and talking about food plots and all this. And you know what? Right now I just wanna hear some hunting stories.

Like, I just want to hear about how normal people had great success and uh, and killed a buck that was really memorable for them. And you, you were like, Hey, I'll do it. And so, uh, man, here we are. So, let, to kick things off, why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do, and, you know, maybe how you got into hunting.

Caleb Hewitt: Yeah. Um, well, again, hopefully that story that I, that, that I offered up to you is, uh, proves interesting to you too. Um, looking forward to talk, talking more about that. Um, so as you mentioned, uh, Caleb Hewitt. So, um, I live in southeastern Wisconsin. I am a pension consultant. Um, so most of my time is spent sitting in a computer, uh, dreaming about bucks or elk or turkeys or just something outdoors.

And so, um, But yeah, no, as you know, I like, [00:05:00] like many, I grew up, um, hunting my, my dad was a big time hunter. Um, I'm fortunate that my family has about 70 acres, um, 15 minutes away from, from where I live. So, grew up, you know, spending a lot of time on that property. Um, heading up north into Taylor County and, and, um, Sp spent a lot of time up there, uh, you know, chasing, you name it, um, bear, bear hunting or trapping with my dad, um, Turkey hunting and deer hunting.

Uh, recently, over the last five years or so, I've been really trying to chase elk and get that, but that's proven to be pretty difficult. So I've got a muzzle loader hunt coming up in two months. That's really been. Kind of controlling my thoughts and efforts over the last, uh, gosh couple since I drew that tag a few months ago.

So it's good that you kind of got me back into focusing on deer so I can remember. I do have a deer season after that, but I need to start focusing on and, um, spent kinda the last couple of weekends on, on that family property, [00:06:00] starting to, you know, cut trails, shooting lanes, get the food plot ready, things like that.

Josh Raley: Yeah, man, it's, it sounds like you're, uh, you might be a little bit like me when I. So I had an Iowa Turkey tag this year, right? And it was like I could see nothing else outside of this Iowa tag. And then once I filled the Iowa Turkey tag, it was like, okay, I can think about everything else that comes after this.

Now, like now I can think about Wisconsin. Now I can think about Georgia. Now I can think about the other states that I'll be hunting for turkeys. But until that was done, man, I was just laser focused. Sounds like you, uh, might have a little bit of that going on, but. Uh, man. Tell us a little bit about this 70 acres.

I mean, how it, it's not all that uncommon, let's say in Wisconsin, you know, to have a, a family farm or 70 acres that the family, uh, family hunts on. Tell me a little bit about the property. Maybe, uh, I have a feeling this is gonna tie into the story and I intentionally didn't ask you anything about the story.

Until we got on the show. 'cause it's always, I always want my reaction and, and my questions to be fresh and not manufactured. So tell me a little bit about the [00:07:00] property. 'cause I have a feeling it's gonna play into. How you hunted this buck and how you found them?

Caleb Hewitt: Yeah, so, um, our property, 70 acres, uh, 10 acres of it is tillable, but honestly, we, we never really utilized that from a hunting perspective.

It's kind of, um, on the edge and, you know, kind of smack dab up against some houses in a, in a highway and, um, just hasn't set up well. And, and honestly, the couple of years that we've had, you know, corn and things like that, Um, we, we put cameras out and just never really get much for traction on deer out there.

Yeah, so really the rest is kind of 50 50 split between timber and um, wetland. And so, and then as far as that timber setup, it's really split into kind of two chunks. There's kind of this north northern portion, um, that's kind of the, the majority of it, and the spot that is easiest to access. Um, my access is always kind of from the northwest side of the property, which when you're talking prevailing winds during the, you know, during the fall, Northwest is kind of a, [00:08:00] a tough wind to walk in with at your back.

Um, so I try not to get too far into the property, which, you know, Accessing from the same spot year over year is always a, is always an issue. And I know I need to be better about that, but that's just kind of the fact of the matter. Yeah. And then the southern portion is, um, it's, it's got kind of a lot of, you know, nooks and crannies and things where, um, you get little inlets and fingers and things like that.

And so that's. Historically where my dad used to spend a lot of time hunting and I try to leave that more as sanctuary. Mm-hmm. Um, and, and kind of let the deer live back there. And I try to avoid getting too far back there just because it's hard to get back there without kind of blowing up everything on your way in.

Josh Raley: Yeah. So, ma'am, when you, like, when you describe this property, 10 acres tillable, 50 50 for the rest of it. Timber wetland, like I'm thinking like. Honey hole like that. Mm-hmm. This just sounds like, and, and you may have heard me and uh, my buddy Pierce on here before, uh, he's been on here several times and we talk about [00:09:00] his family owns the right five acres, right?

Like, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter the size of the property, it's the right property in the right spot, right? Yep. It sounds like yours might kind of be the same way. Am I right?

Caleb Hewitt: I think you're absolutely right, and I think in, in, uh, another hunter's hands that that would definitely ring true, uh, truer than in my own hands.

It absolutely is. I mean, I have buddies that are like, dude, your property is unreal. And I'm like, I know, but I can't seem to get it done, you know, consistently or on bigger bucks, but mm-hmm. It, it absolutely is. It's, it's, it's a par paradise that I'm very fortunate, knit, fortunate to have.

Josh Raley: Yeah, man. That's awesome.

So let, let's jump in and talk about this buck from 2020. Uh, you sent me a picture of 'em on Instagram. Beautiful, dear. Just a excellent representation in my mind of like a southern Wisconsin buck. You know what I mean? Like when I think of. But when you think about the country, right? And you see a buck from Texas, or a buck from Alabama, [00:10:00] or a buck from, you know, wherever.

I feel like they have these characteristics and you just kinda look at it and you're like, yeah, that's a, that's an Alabama deer, or that's a, mm-hmm. That's a Texas deer. Like when I looked at yours, I'm like, yep, that's a, that's a southern Wisconsin deer. Like, that's just what it, what it calls to mind. So, uh, just a beautiful specimen tell.

Where does the story start with that? Deer Was this, uh, one that you'd been keeping your eye on for some time?

Caleb Hewitt: Well, uh, so I'll probably back it up. My story really starts with a different deer, um, okay. That I had kind of been, been chasing for a few years. Um, the deer I'd been chasing was a five year old, you know, probably in the one sixties, one seventies.

He was, um, definitely one of the bigger bucks that I've ever had, kind of consistently using the property. Um, consistently getting pictures of and things like that. However, most of the pictures I've always gotten of him have been kind of, you know, after shooting hours, mostly middle of the night. Um, but he always would show up kind of mid-October through very early [00:11:00] November.

And so he had done that as a three-year-old. A four-year-old and, and again was doing it as a five-year-old. And so, you know, as I was really starting to focus on my 2020 season, it was trying to think about, all right, if he shows up mid-October, you know, when am I gonna be taking vacation? When am I gonna be doing my all day sits?

Um, the, the full moon that year was, was Halloween, so I was really focusing on trying to take a few days kind of on each side of, of that full moon to really make sure I was out there. Knowing that that full moon kind of maybe means, you know, midday activity. Right. And that's kind of the days I like to try to be out there all day.

Mm-hmm. Just 'cause you, you, you never know when they're gonna be moving. And so, um, uh, I was, you know, getting pictures of him and he had actually daylighted a few times already, um, that year. And so I thought maybe in his old age he's starting to slip up.

Josh Raley: When did he first, when, when did he typically daylight and when did he start daylighting This particular year?

Caleb Hewitt: [00:12:00] Yeah, so, you know, the, the last couple years, so that would've been 20, um, 19 and 2018. He would show up, like I said, somewhere around the 15th of October, and then he would daylight once or twice and there was no sort of consistency. Okay. It was kind of somewhere between probably the 23rd and the 27th.

Okay. It was kind of really that pre rutt, latter part of pre rutt. Um, I, I, that's when he would start to kind of slip up and you'd catch him, you know, 20 minutes before shooting light. And then this year, um, he just outta nowhere showed up at like eight in the morning on, I think it was October 20th. Um, man.

And then he showed up again that night. At like a half hour before shooting light. And I thought, wow, okay. Maybe he's, maybe he's slipping up or maybe he just got bumped. I don't know. Um, we certainly have a coyote problem and so I've seen it happen before where a coyote kind of works through the, the swamp and then all of a sudden a buck pops out of a bed.

So maybe they were just in the area that day. I'm not really [00:13:00] sure. But then he did it again, I think on the 22nd or 23rd. Um, He was, he was on his feet, you know, with daylight. So I was really thinking this was gonna be the year. It just might happen. And on Sunday, the, the 25th, I was out and I was hunting.

Um, I saw the tail end of a, of a deer just kind of working through and I'm like, oh man, I don't know what that was. But that looked like a huge body, but had no way of really knowing, well, Uh, that night I left the property and, um, our property's kind of on a busy, busy highway, and so every year we seem to have some level of road killing.

A couple of times it's been some really big bucks that I've been after. So I'm, I'm always kind of a little bit nervous as we start approaching the ru that we're gonna see the buck. I'm after end up on that highway, so I did my, my nightly kind of drive up and down our property on this busy road, and sure enough, there was a dead deer.

And I thought, oh my [00:14:00] gosh, that can't be him. So I drive up to it and somebody had hacked off the most hacked job of, of all hack jobs. He, he hacked off like the face. It was the weirdest way to ever kind of claim a deadhead. Um, interesting. But all I came up on was this body. The, the rack was gone, but the body was enormous.

And I was like, oh my gosh, this has to be him. We have no other deer on camera. You know, and as much as that doesn't necessarily mean anything to me, it kind of meant everything is we, this was the deer I had on camera that could've supported this body.

Josh Raley: Yeah. And what was the date on that

Caleb Hewitt: again? This is October 25th.

October 20. Which was a Sunday. Yeah. And so I was, I mean, I was terrified. I was distraught. I thought it had to be him. I called my dad, he's like, settle down. You know, it's not for sure him, he is trying to talk me off the ledge, but I was, I was sure it was him and I thought my season was over. Um, so

Josh Raley: how did you, I I, I want to know, I mean, 'cause you, you still [00:15:00] hunted, right?

Like, how did you mentally recover from that? Because, uh, one of the things that I always try to do when I, when I have guys come on and tell hunting stories that are specific to a buck or, you know, a hunt or a season, I always wanna know what did we learn from that? Because that's where we grow, right?

It's those stress points and those pressure points where we really do grow. This jumps out at me as like one of those moments where you had a decision to make, and depending on how you chose to move forward from that, you were either really gonna grow as a hunter. Or potentially stunt your growth because of picking up bad habits, you know, in addressing that.

So how did you pivot and recover? Did you do it well or did you, do you feel like maybe, uh, maybe it took some time?

Caleb Hewitt: Well, I, I definitely took a little bit of time. I mean, the next couple of days I, you know, I hate to say it, but I was like sick over the whole situation. Yeah. I just couldn't think about it.

The thought of hunting was like, it didn't even intrigue me. Um, yeah. I just, you know, [00:16:00] I don't know if you've had that feeling of, of a buck you were after, you know, getting shot. Oh, yeah. Or, or, or dying or whatever. Um, or, you know, you spook it or whatever you, you feel like your chances are are done. Yeah.

And so I was totally, you know, shut down and kind of over it. But you know, as the week goes on it's like that itch just comes right back. And, um, I knew I had some other bucks on camera that I'm known. Trophy hunter. I'm not good enough to, to claim to be any sort of trophy hunter. So, um, there were definitely bucks still on camera that I was all for.

So, um, you know, after a few days I was kind of right back into it and, you know, looking at that full moon, um, I still planned to get out there and the buck that I, you know, ultimately ended up shooting, um, he was one of those bucks and he was like one of the most patentable bucks I've ever. Come across.

He just happened to kind of do the same thing, especially when you got a certain wind direction. It was like you could guarantee he was going to be in a certain spot. Interesting. So once I shifted my, [00:17:00] my focus off of the one that was gone, my number two was the one who I ended up shooting, who was now my number one.

I just made a game plan. Once I could get this northwest wind or a north wind, um, I was gonna be in a certain spot and. He was gonna walk right by me. And

Josh Raley: so what did you know about this buck beforehand then? You said he was super patentable, obviously you had pictures of him, um, and a, and a really good idea of what was he doing?

So what, what was he doing?

Caleb Hewitt: Yeah, so, you know, honestly I think he was probably only a three year old. So it's not like I had long-term history with him. Um, you know, I had some pictures of him as a, as a two year old where, um, You know, he was showing up during the rutt and he was chasing some deer around.

So I don't know that there's a whole lot of readings into that that I could have done.

Josh Raley: Sure. Um, but dude, I love th I love three-year-olds during the Rutt. Yeah. I love 'em. They're, they're like, they're like, they're like two year old turkeys. I just love him. I love 'em so much.

Caleb Hewitt: It's like he finally felt like this was his time to shine, and so That's right.

Yeah. They do.

Josh Raley: They do, man. [00:18:00]

Caleb Hewitt: Yeah. Well, and you know, maybe again to back up so that, that other buck that had been, you know, um, keeping tabs on for the last couple of years, he would show up so rarely and every time he showed up, he had knee, uh, mud up to his knees. So I'm pretty sure he spent most of his time way back in the swamp and wasn't spending too much time on the property.

And I think. You know, we've always kind of had that kind of three-year-old deer that seems to run the property and I think that's who he was this year. Um, you know, he's not getting his butt whooped by this five-year-old 'cause he's living, you know, back in the swamps. And so this guy, I think, kind of thought this property was his to, to roam, to rule.

And um, you know, when we got a north wind, he was gonna come up this main trail into our food pot from the south. Um, he'd access it with kind of that wind in his nose and he would work through the food plot, um, which would then be on the downwind side of a bunch of bedding. Yeah. Where, what

Josh Raley: did you know about where this deer was bedding, where this buck was betting?

Caleb Hewitt: Well, yeah, it was kind of like, I. Um, if we had that north wind, it [00:19:00] seemed like he was gonna always come from the southern portion of the property. Okay. Which is where that, that bigger buck was too. And kind of where it seems like if we get a mature buck in the, you know, in the area that's using it consistently, he'll come from this southern portion of the property.

And, you know, extending south off of our property is, is d n R land. Okay. And it's, it's swamped for hundreds of yards and, you know, there's. Lots of different pockets of kind of red brush and things like that, that they'll Oh, so prime, they'll set up and Yeah,

Josh Raley: prime bett, prime

Caleb Hewitt: betting. Okay. Yep. So I think, I think for the most part, you know, they're, they're betted out in the swamp and there's a few points where we know they access from, and we, and you know, they'll bet on those points on our, on our land too, but, Um, yeah, if I was betting, I would say he was in the, in the swamp.


Josh Raley: So you find this buck dead or this deer? Yeah, it was, it was a buck dead on the 25th. We don't know if it's the buck or not. Right. Uh, did you immediately jump right back in the sa well, I say jump back in the saddle, uh, not meaning saddle hunting. I'm [00:20:00] guessing you, I'm guessing you weren't saddle hunting.

Caleb Hewitt: No, I, you know, I, I continue to kind of mess around with that idea of saddle hunting and I. I just haven't quite bitten the bullet yet. I've, I've kind of like a lot of people, especially in this area of the state, um, really gotten into the whole, you know, hunting beast, Danny Vault, you know, really started paying attention to a lot of that.

So, you know, a few years back I got a lone wolf and I got some mo, you know, some, um, sticks and I do a lot more hanging hunts and things like that. And, um, so that's kinda what I've been trying to get into. Mm-hmm. But I haven't found, go, gone full, you know, Hunting bee style and, and really dove in, dove into the swamps too much.

Um, given the property that I've gotten, it seems like it can get finicky if you start getting too aggressive. It's just like all of a sudden the activity dies down and I know that, that, yeah, you know, that, that's not necessarily the truth, but that's just been my, my reaction. And so I've tried to, Handle things a little bit more delicately, at least when I'm not out hunting

Josh Raley: public.

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Yeah, those tactics are made for public ground. Like if you just look at the studies that have been done by like Auburn University and others. The way hunting pressure changes what deer are doing. You know, if you've got a, if you've got a 70 acre piece that's yours and it's the right piece and you control pressure on it, your best bet and the best thing you can do, unless it's just a, unless you just hate this style of hunting, it's to sit back and wait.

Let the deer show you what they want to do, show you where they're going to be, and then strike. I mean, you know, one of the worst things you can do probably is try to use. Super aggressive, highly mobile beast tactics on a small property. When I say small property, I mean anything under 300 acres. Right.

You know, like, it's just, it's not going to, you only have so much betting like you're, you're gonna, you know, Dan Infa says, well, I can just, you know, I hunt a hundred beds in a season and I can just hunt one and blow it out and then move to the next. Like, you don't have that option when you're on a small parcel.

Right. [00:23:00] You know?

Caleb Hewitt: Yeah. I'm sure some guys could probably pull it off, but not me. Not

Josh Raley: me. So, yeah, no, I'm not that guy either. I'm, I'm really not good at bed hunting and I'm okay with it. I'm coming to terms with it now. Uh, that it's just not my style. But, uh, so how long until you were back hunting again? Were you back out the next day?

Caleb Hewitt: No. So I, I think, um, you know, I took a few days of, of just kind of hating everything about, yeah. Hunting and, and just living in my misery. And then, you know, um, I think I had that Friday that week off, which was, um, the 30th. Okay. And so, um, I was like, that's the day I'm gonna get out there. I, well, I didn't have it off.

I had a meeting like right away in the workday, so I kind of figured, you know, earliest I can get, get out there is probably around 10 or 11, somewhere in there. And, Knowing that it was the full moon, I thought, well, you know, with all this kind of all day activity, um, or potentially midday activity, that's gonna be okay.

You know, I'm, I'm gonna miss the morning hunt, but that's all right. I'll get out there and I'll get [00:24:00] up, set up early. And actually, and this particular day I was feeling extra inspired to do a hanging hunt, um, to hang a stand on the southwest corner of our food plot, which, In hindsight, I don't know how, I didn't have a stand there in the first place, but I didn't.

And, um, so I, I knew I was gonna have this northwest wind. I knew that Buck was, was kind of using this main trail. So I thought, all right, if I get out there at 10 or 11, I'll hang a hunt or I'll hang a stand and, and I'll hunt that. And I hung a little bit more of a permanent set than typically like my stand and sticks type of, of setup.

I, I did tree pegs, which I've never done before. That was the day I decided to do it. So, um, like a screw in kind. Yeah, the screwing Okay. The screwing kind of, kind of the more permanent, um, yeah. Screwing steps. Yeah. And, um, so I decided that was gonna be the day I'd figure out how long it takes to hang a, a stand that way.

And it took me way longer than I expected.

Josh Raley: Yeah, that's what I was thinking. I was like, man, those things can be tough. Yeah. Like real tough.

Caleb Hewitt: Okay. Yeah. And, [00:25:00] and, well, so I, I chose, I chose to do that. And then, you know, I got there, I think I got to my tree probably right around 11 o'clock. Um, it was a little bit warmer, but um, again, it was kind of like you, you had the feel of the full moon in the air and you could just tell like, today's a good day to be in, in the, in the woods.

And I'm, you know, starting to hang my, my tree pegs. And, um, I'm, I don't know. I think I got one more to go and then I gotta haul up my stand, hang the stand and, and haul up my, my bow in my pack. And. All of a sudden I hear some, some crunching coming and I, I look to that road. There's, and really, I guess maybe to give a visual, our, our food plot's about a hundred yards.

Um, running east and west by about 35, north and south. It's like a perfect rectangle. And the way kind of the main trail through the property goes is it goes north and south, more or less, um, on the west side of the food plot. Um, I really need to put up like some switchgrass or something [00:26:00] to, to screen it.

So if you wanna access that, um, you can kind of pass the food plot without, you know, getting busted. But I, sure I've, I've tried it and I've failed and, um, I, I, I don't get busted too often there, but it's still something that, that's my aspirational goal someday. But anyways, yeah, I'm setting up on the southwest side, just on the edge of this main trail that humans use, but the pressure's low enough that it's really mostly a deer trail.

Um, and as I'm about to hang that last step, all of a sudden I hear something coming up that trail from the south, and sure enough, I'll out pops this buck that I'm after my number two, that's now my number one. Um, and he's like 10 yards away, 15 yards away, perfect bow range. I'm like, oh my God. I don't have my bow, my, my stand sitting on the ground like I'm, and I'm sweating up a storm because this has proven to be a tougher process than expected.

And sure. And it's hotter. And I look down at him, I'm like, oh my God, this was the opportunity. And I just blew it. 'cause I took too long [00:27:00] to get out here and I took too long to hang my stand. And he steps out into the food pot and he kind of looks over at my stand, looks at my bow. He's kind of doing, you know that, you know the head bob that they do when they're kinda like onto something?


Josh Raley: He's looking at it. I hate that it causes so much anxiety in me. Oh my

Caleb Hewitt: gosh. I know. And all of a sudden the tail wiggles a little bit. And I don't know if you, you know if you feel the same, but I see that tail wiggle and it's kinda like, okay, he's relaxing. Yep. And then he starts feeding into the food plot.

I was like, okay, well he hasn't pegged me yet. I don't know how, how I'm supposed to get my bow. I don't know. I'm supposed to get the stand hung, but whatever, at least maybe I can live to fight another day. Right. Well, he keeps feeding through the food plot and then all of a sudden kind of takes off and kicks up like a little, he kicks up a dough out of the, out of the, that was bedded right on the edge of the food plot and chases her into the food plot.

And then he books it into the woods again, and then kicks out another dough and a, and [00:28:00] like a fork, just a small little fork. And he's chasing that fork and grunting, grunting like crazy. And I, I've very rarely had grunting opportunities, so this was really cool to see. Yeah, it was, it was definitely new to me.

And he was just chasing that thing down, like, get the heck outta here. I got my two do. Um, he chased that thing off into the woods, and then he starts just racking a tree on the edge, just, you know, rubbing the heck out of it. And, uh, chased one of those doughs off kind of to the east side of that food pot on the far edge.


Josh Raley: you're just hanging on the side of a tree

Caleb Hewitt: for all of this. I'm just hanging, I'm just hanging there. And yeah, I sent you my Instagram post and I got some really crappy, blurry vision of, or a video of me hanging in my, you know, in my lineman's belt and, uh, and my safety system. Just kinda like, I got nothing.

I can't, I can't, dude.

Josh Raley: At least you had alignments. Yeah. Like if you hadn't had alignments belt like that would've been. Yeah. Struggle city.

Caleb Hewitt: Yeah. Well that, yeah, I mean that whole, that whole situation took a good five, 10 minutes. Um, [00:29:00] you know, I mean, it sound like it happened like that, but it, it took a while of him chasing around and feeding and all that kinda stuff.

And I'm just hanging there and I, because I was just hanging there, I was able to get my phone out and get a little bit of video. But, um, yeah, so he finally works through that far end of the food pot and kind of went off and, and things kind of settled down and I thought, okay, you know, who knows where he went to, if he's gonna come back, or if another deer's gonna come back.

So I kind of quickly hurried up and got my stand hung and got my bow up and got settled. Tried to get the sweat sweating to stop and get my nerves under control. So yeah.

Josh Raley: When you got in there and got settled and kind of took your breath, you know, what time was it when you were set?

Caleb Hewitt: It was probably like 1230.

Josh Raley: Okay. All right. So you're settling in for kind of a longer afternoon. Yeah. You know, not, not an all day sit, but definitely not a normal, you know, got to the stand at two 30, you know? Right. Kind of afternoon hunt.

Caleb Hewitt: Yeah. I think he came through at like 1130, you know, I watched him for a good 10, 10 [00:30:00] minutes or so, and then it was probably closer to I, I guess noon.

But yeah, point of point being I had a long ways to go. Lots could happen. Okay. Um,

Josh Raley: you know. And did you have a pretty good idea when he left the food plot? Like did you think he had run off a good ways or were you thinking the whole time like, eh, he's right in that wood line.

Caleb Hewitt: He ran into a little spot where, It seems like every, every time I see a deer head into that area, they're just kind of up to some mischief.

It's like all of a sudden you're gonna, you're gonna hear like a whole bunch of, you know, leaves crashing and sticks breaking, and all of a sudden more deer will pop out. So it's, it's sometimes a betting area, but more or less it's just a number of trails kind of crisscross through there. So I don't know if they'll kind of set up there in bed for a temporary little staging spot.

Mm-hmm. Um, But I didn't write him off as he's gone. Like it's not like I saw him go to a spot where I know I'm never gonna see him again. I went, he went to the spot that I know is like anything can happen.

Josh Raley: Sure. And in that spot, have you ever gone in there and found a scrape or a couple scrapes? I. [00:31:00]

Caleb Hewitt: Um, I, you know, I've honestly never found any scrapes in there.

Um, and, you know, I'll, I'll typically if, if like, my season's over, 'cause I'm TAed out, I'll, I'll try to bomb in there during the season at some point and just kind of get a feel for what's going on in there. Yeah. I never really found scrapes. Um, okay. Um,

Josh Raley: yeah, I've got a, I've got a spot that you, it reminded me of when you were talking about it and it's, it's on a piece of public, but in this little spot, you go in there.

During or after the rutt, and there will be, you know, there are all these crisscross trails that are always there. Mm-hmm. But during, and just after the rutt you'll see buck beds all around, where all these trails crisscross. And basically what happens is all the, the do I guess come up outta the marsh, feeding towards this big ag field, and they all have to cross, there's a little ditch they'll have to cross in this one spot, and then they kind of fan back out again as they work their way towards the ag.

Well, I in this one spot, there will be like three or four buck beds, literally in a circle around where these trails converge. [00:32:00] And I think during the rutt what's happening is those bucks just are like, you know what, if I sit right there, I've got 'em all covered. Like I, I don't have to work for it. I can just, I can just observe.

So I was wondering if, if, you know, there were some scrapes or any, any sign that, you know, they're, they're heading in there to just kind of observe what the rest of the deer are up to.

Caleb Hewitt: Yeah, no, I mean, There's definitely op opportunity for scrapes, and I know if you follow some of those trails not that far from that area, you're gonna start running into scrapes Okay.

In a couple of directions. So, um, but what you're describing actually makes a lot of sense for kind of how they use that. It definitely picks up right around, you know, that end of October, early November is when I, that's when all of the, you know, mischief happens there. Yep. It's just like, it just turns into a

Josh Raley: hotspot.

Yep. Dude, that's, I, I have seen that time and time again in this little place and. The funny part about the spot that I'm talking about is it's so good, but there's not a single way possible that I could get into it or have a, have any kind of bow shot. Like [00:33:00] I, the closest I can get is 80 to a hundred yards, and they're not gonna be coming my direction.

Like I have no access with the way the private kind of loops in on it. I, I can't get to it, but I can sit there at a hundred yards and watch buck stand up outta those beds and walk a circle and. You know, like, yeah, I just can't actually get in there and hunt it. So, um, frustrating, but, alright. Anyway, so you're in the sand, you're settled, you're ready to go.

Now what?

Caleb Hewitt: Yeah, so, so now I'm sitting there and, you know, I, I kind of, you know, I'm a little bit like, ah, you know, that was my chance, but at the same time I'm like, you know, there's a lot of daylight left. So I'm feeling okay. And I sit there for a couple of hours, I'm probably texting buddies saying, can't you believe this happened?

You know, sending them videos and things like that. And, um, I don't know, probably two o'clock 2, 2 30, something like that. Um, that fork that he had chased off kind of came back into the food pot and he started kind of, you know, browsing through the food pot. And he is kind of working his way towards me.

And then another, like six [00:34:00] pointer, another small, you know, whatever, um, came out and, um, Those two were, you know, just kind of browsing and munching and, um, eventually worked past me and kinda worked to the south on the same trail that that original buck came up north into the food plot. So they kinda went to that southern portion of, of the property and, you know, it was fun.

You got to see a little activity. Um, Which for me, I, you know, if, if I don't see anything, it's not unusual. Most of my sits are quiet and, you know, I'll, I'll catch one or two deer. So by now, you know, I've seen four different, um, deer plus, you know, actually five different deer. And so for me it's been a really, you know, awesome day.

Lots of activity. Sure. And, uh, they headed off south and I'm like, okay, they're back on their feet and you know, the young bucks do it first and then the big bucks follow. Right. So I'm kind of holding that hope. He's gonna come back out kind of from that east where that that fork came from. And then all of a sudden I hear, you know, kind of, it sounds like some rattling of antlers, but from the south.

So I'm like, oh, that fork in that six pointer must be kind of going [00:35:00] at it a little bit back there. And it was just, you know, it was light or whatever. And they started coming back and they came back out into the food plot and now they picked up their fight in the middle of the food plot. Um, and it was just what forks do, it wasn't sure, it wasn't aggressive, it was just enough to kind of make a ruckus.

And I guess it was enough to, to bring that, um, That big buck back into the food pot. So all of a sudden he's at the, I just see him standing there in the far east side

Josh Raley: of the food pot. So he kind of sn in on you? You didn't know he was coming?

Caleb Hewitt: No, I mean he, I saw him right where he was about to enter the food pot.

Okay. So it was kinda like he showed up and it, he was just standing there. I didn't see him kind of working his way. He was just all of a sudden there, it was kinda like one of those, I don't know, moments you dream of where that big buck shows up. And um, he was watching them and I was like, okay, you know, now it's on.

Now I just gotta hope that those two can kind of, you know, Figure him get him over in, in, in the bow range. And, you know, um, they were probably at, I'd put it 60 yards. So even if he showed up right at them, I still had [00:36:00] some work to do to try to get them kind of back in range. And, um, he came over and kind of started, you know, fighting them off and kind of breaking up their fight.

And then he would go back to eating and then they'd start trying, trying to pick a fight with him and then he'd, you know, pick his head up and they'd sprint off. And kind of all of that games that they were playing brought one of them kind of back into bull range. It was at about 30 yards and eventually that the big buck kind of came back, um, curled around him as if he was gonna fight him again.

And at this point now he was 35 yards and, uh, not really paying attention my way, and I was able to get up and, um, slink a shot right through. So, um, he, it was like a perfect shot. It was, Probably my best shot on a deer ever. Um, just right behind the shoulder, just clipped that back leg. Nice. The back of the front leg, sorry.

Um, and he ran about 30 yards and keeled over Right on that main trail. Oh. And uh, That, that fork in the six pointer. Now by this time, all of a sudden another like a [00:37:00] 10 pointer, a young 10 pointer, but like an up and comer we're in the food plot and they're just kind of staring at, I'm like, what the heck is going on over there?

Why are you laying down, dude? And they, they just sat there and watched him for the next hour. It was really, it was so cool. Yeah, I mean, I'm on nine 'cause I just shot the buck that I'm after now. I've got this really nice up and coming, 10 pointer, just kind of staring at 'em. These two, the fork and the six, just kind of continuing to play.

It was,

Josh Raley: it was awesome, man. That's incredible. Yeah. What an, what an awesome hunt. Yeah. And it, it sounds like you've got possibly a target for this year, at least next year with this. Well,

Caleb Hewitt: you know, that was 2020, so, oh,

Josh Raley: that was, oh, that's right. That was 2020. Yeah. So did you ever catch up with that Tim Point again?

Caleb Hewitt: Well, sure enough, he, he, he blew up. He was, um, he was the spitting image of that buck that I had been after. Ah. And, um, you know, he blew up and so he was, he was all over camera in 2021. Okay. All right. All right. But, um,

Josh Raley: so yeah, you, you [00:38:00] get down obviously no track job needed. I, I always want to hear this.

Who's the first person you called?

Caleb Hewitt: I think I called my dad, um, first. Yeah, he's always kind of my first guy I call. Sure. So, yeah. And I was like, I can't believe it, you know, because he was the one who was pep talking me all week when I was kind of down in the dumps. He was like, There's still, your number two is still out there.

You're not even sure that that was the big one. You, you might as well stick it out. Um, you should be out there. Yeah, man, that's really good. And so, yeah, I gave him the call and he's always kind of the ultimate hype man. So he got me in the, you know, got me going. Um, he lives up in Wausau, so he's, he's pretty far away, so he wasn't gonna come, but, you know, it was fun to tell him the story.

And then I immediately called my stepdad, um, and kind of sent out a text to the family text and got my, um, My brother-in-law and my nephew to come out too. So I had a little bit of a family affair, kind of came out to, to be part of it. My nephew was probably four or five at the time. Oh, that's cool. Yeah, so this was his first track job and, [00:39:00] um, so it was, it was awesome.

Josh Raley: What a memory. What a memory. All right. So tell me, tell us about the buck now. I mean, I mentioned earlier he is a 10 point, uh, but, but tell us about him, you know, size wise, what are we looking at?

Caleb Hewitt: Yeah, I mean, he's, he is nothing, nothing super special. I mean, he was, I think a three-year-old. Um, he was super wide, um, not extraordinarily tall.

Um, and I say super wide, again, my standards are probably different than most. He was, he was wide, he was, he know, um, I probably should have measured him, but probably 18 inches or so wide.

Josh Raley: Um, he looks, looks, he looks wide in the picture. Yeah. Like,

Caleb Hewitt: um, and you know, he was, He's kind of got this like bent brow tine, um, and a forked G two.

He, he just kind of was a little bit of a trashy buck. Um, again, not super tall, but, but wide and kind of trashy and just had some goofy stuff. And, you know, it's one of those, I wonder what he would've looked like if he got a little bit older. Um, 'cause he really had potential to be kind of a, a wild, you know, um, big [00:40:00] buck.

But, um, again, to, for me, that was the biggest buck that I've ever shot on our property. Um, So I've shot, I've shot a bigger deer, but all in different situations, um, that, you know, kind of didn't pass the purity score of shooting one on your own property. There's just something about doing it that way. Um, so for me that was really special.


Josh Raley: I, I saw somebody, it was on Instagram the other day, but man, they said something that just really stuck out to me. Um, they had bought property, I guess it's family property. And they said, we won't kill our biggest deer here, but we'll kill our best deer. And for me, man, that really like sunk in of like, they bought land, it's gonna be family land.

And it's like, we're not gonna produce, you know, 160 inch deer here, but we're gonna shoot and we're, but we're gonna shoot our best deer here because they're gonna be the ones full of meaning. Like when you look at that deer on the wall. The, [00:41:00] the one you're talking about there, the best one you've killed off the family property, man, that deer is full of meaning, regardless of whether or not he's, he's your biggest, you know what I mean?

Yep. So, um, man, that's awesome. What do you, what'd you do with him? Is he on the wall somewhere?

Caleb Hewitt: Yeah, I've got a euro of him. I, I should've brought him in here and I meant to, and I totally forgot. Um, oh,

Josh Raley: that's all right. That's all right. You, uh, shoot me a picture of it though, man. I'm curious to see how he, uh, how he turned out.

Once we get done here, shoot me a picture, so, yeah. Yeah. I'll dude did the, The, the big buck. He disappeared. He was gone.

Caleb Hewitt: Well, so it's funny you ask, um, this is October 30th, right? And I, I spent, you know, we, we tr by the time the family got out there, we got 'em out in the dark, so we didn't get good pictures.

So I brought him up back out on Halloween day, got some nice, you know, um, pictures, kind of staged pictures and things like that. Um, again, kind of biggest buck to date. It was special to me, so Sure. Um, Octo or November 1st. The camera goes off and look who's alive and well.

Josh Raley: No, no, [00:42:00] no. Yep. No. Was it daylight?

Caleb Hewitt: Um, gosh, I don't even remember. No, it wasn't. No it wasn't.

Josh Raley: Okay. If it had been daylight, that would've just been salty wound. No, no,

Caleb Hewitt: no. That there was a, yeah, he, he was, um, No, he was alive and well. It was probably seven o'clock, so it was definitely after shooting light. Yeah. Um, but it was like, oh my God, you idiot, you overreacted 'cause of this highway that has you terrified of taking your, your number one and, you know, so it was like, I'm, I was so mixture of emotions, I was so happy and I didn't wanna take anything away from the buck that I did shoot, but at the same time I was like, oh my gosh.

Yeah. I can't believe that he's still alive. Yeah. Now I have hope that it's like, well, I've got gun season coming up. Um, there's obviously always next year and, um, I guess maybe to go full circle is, you know, so I, I kept keeping an eye on the cameras just to see is he still alive? Is he gonna be around for gun season?

Um, you know, I, I had history with him and honestly, after November [00:43:00] 3rd, or I think third was the latest I ever got a picture of him, um, until I think 2019. I got a picture of him at the end, the last day of gun season. Um, wow. Okay. And, and so it was like, okay, so he, he does seem to come back at some point.

Um, but it was like most of November, he was pretty much gone. I think he came back on like November 30th and it was just one little pass through, but it was during shooting hours and my stupid butt was in Minnesota visiting my in-laws. So, so I was not out and I didn't get to shoot him that year. And so, I thought, alright, well maybe he'll come back for gun season again.

And so I was keeping an eye and I just never got a picture of him again. And so now I'm starting to think like, okay, did he get shot somewhere else in the, in the end of November? Well, um, you know, we go through the season. I get no more pictures of him. 2021 comes along and he's alive and kind of, well, he, um, is just as big as ever, but halfway through his, his left main beam.

It like he [00:44:00] must have heard it at some point, inve in velvet must have broke it, like cheering it and it, it was dangling straight down, but it was hard. So it was like a hard break. Imagine, you know, he's, so, he was kind of a mainframe 10. He had a couple of stickers on his G twos, but right after his G two, the main beam was broken down and then it was like the rest of a typical buck was just down, but facing forward.

Wow. A little bit, kind of smushed. So, but he was, I mean, he was a monster. You know, now six year old. Wow, man. And, um, meanwhile I had that, that 10 pointer that I told you, the up and comer, he was, um, you know, probably pushing upper one forties. Um, so I have these two bucks, like by far kind of the best year I've, I've got available in terms of having two big shooters that, you know, we're using the property pretty extensively.

Um, I did see the, the younger of the two one time from the stand across the swamp. Um, And I, I, I think before we, we jumped on the podcast, I told [00:45:00] you every once in a while we have issues with coyotes, kind of screwing up hunts and kicking deer outta beds. He was working across the swamp and all of a sudden kind of turned and took off.

I didn't know what happened. I didn't know if he winded me. He shouldn't have winded me. I didn't know if maybe he pegged me in a tree. Um, but then a minute later, coming straight from where he was, a coyote popped out mm-hmm. Directly by my, below my tree. And I was like, ah.

Josh Raley: So answers that question.

Caleb Hewitt: Yeah, so long story short, that big one lived.

Um, you know, he, he kind of dodged me a few times through, uh, through the 2021 season, 2022 season. Uh, never got a picture of him, never got a picture of, of the other one. So, um, those two kind of came, gave me the best, you know, hopeful season ever in 2021 to never have an encounter, and then they were gone by 2022.

So, yeah. Any

Josh Raley: ideas of, of what you've got got out there this year?

Caleb Hewitt: Well, so 2022 was rough. It was like I had two, two year old, eight pointers that, you know, I don't know, [00:46:00] 75, you know, points or 80, 85 points. Like nothing super special. Like they were. They, like, you can tell they're, they're gonna be really nice deer as they get older.

Um, just kind of like solid little eight pointers and, um, I sh I shot one of them in bow season after the gun, after the gun hunt. I thought he had broken off part of his rack, and I thought he was a random deer coming through that I never had pictures of. And I thought, okay, I'll just get a little bit more meat for the freezer.

Sure. So I've got, I've got one of those two eight pointers. He, he lives through the rest of the, You know, season I, I pulled my cameras in January. He was still alive and holding. So, um, my hope is he's still out there. I generally don't get cameras out until kind of end of August. Okay. And then I kind of let him be through most of September and, um, October.

So I don't know what's out there right now. Okay. I just, I've been burned too many times by getting excited by summer pictures only to be like that. Deer's never gonna be here during the, during the season, so For

Josh Raley: sure. For sure. Well, man, if folks want to go and see, uh, the picture of this buck or they [00:47:00] wanna keep up with you, where can they find you?

Caleb Hewitt: Yeah. Um, just on Instagram, um, Caleb dot Hewitt one, I think. Um, I would've to check that, but, um, I can't imagine there's too many other Caleb Hewitts and, you know, I don't have many followers, maybe like 150 or so. Okay. Um, I'll put a,

Josh Raley: I'll put a link to, um, to your Instagram profile in the show notes for this so that, you know, people wanna go see a picture of the buck or whatever they can, um, they can go on there and do that.

So, uh, yeah. Well, man, you got an elk hunt coming. I do. So you better get after it, like you've

Caleb Hewitt: got Yeah, I gotta go, gotta go, uh, throw the pack on and do some hiking up some hills

Josh Raley: today. So I was gonna ask if you've been, uh, preparing for, you know, the physic, the physical side of it.

Caleb Hewitt: Yeah, as, I mean, as, as best I can, I've got a, a one year old or just shy, one year old.

So, um, you know, when I get off of work I'm usually kind of trying to take care of her. But yeah, I'll throw her in the, in the stroller and she gets to go on some mics with me and, um, as much as she probably doesn't care for that after a while, but, uh, no. Yeah, we'll try to get out there [00:48:00] again night. And, um, it's a muzzle loader hunt and I've never done that.

So I've been really, maybe more so focusing on just trying to get, get my muzzle loader under control and figure out. All the ins and outs of a Colorado muzzle

Josh Raley: loader. Hu Yeah, man. The thought of having a, I've seen so many guys go out there with a bow in hand during the elk rutt and have a close call.

You know, those, those bulls come in to 60, 70 yards and they just can't quite pull off that long of a shot with a bow, which to a Western hunter. They're like, yeah, 60 yards. I'll whip that, you know? But for me, that's, that's a no-go. But man, to be out there that time of year with a muzzle loader. I think, I think you've got, I think your odds are are not bad.

Yeah. If, if you can get, if you can find the elk, if you can find them, I think your odds of getting one are are not bad.

Caleb Hewitt: I. Yeah. Gosh, I hope so. I mean, that's always the battle is can you find them? Yeah. You know, we, uh, I, I had a, my half of my elk crew hunted this exact same unit last year, um, with bows in hand.

And they [00:49:00] said if we had muzzle loaders, we would've had a number of dead bulls. But man, just with bows, they weren't able to get the shots off. So I'm just kinda hopeful we can replay that and I'll have the muzzle loader in hand, so there you go. Yeah, we'll see.

Josh Raley: Awesome dude. Well, hey, thanks for coming on the show.

Good luck this season. Please keep me informed of how things turn out, man. Shoot me a message. You know, you get those cameras out in August, start seeing what you got. Uh, let me know. I'd love to follow along with, uh, the story of the great grandson of the giant, giant buck or whatever, whatever that would be at this point, you know, if you have one show up that that looks a lot like him, I'm always intrigued in about areas where, you know, you have bucks and you're like, you have these similar genetic traits, you know, that are showing up and it's like, boy, you could be the son of that other.

Of that other buck. So, uh, but yeah, man, keep me in the loop.

Caleb Hewitt: Yeah, same to you. Good luck to you. I know, it's, it's just about that time. I mean, everybody's kind of itching to spend more time in the woods and, and really get the, the season going. So yes, indeed. Um, good luck to you and looking forward to following along in your season

Josh Raley: as well.

Thanks, ma'am. That's all for this [00:50:00] week's episode. As always. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you dig this show, be sure to subscribe to this podcast wherever it is that you get your podcast. While you're at it, if you could leave me a five star review, I would very much appreciate that. You can also follow along with my outdoor adventures on Instagram at the Wisconsin Sportsman, or at how to hunt deer.

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