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"Dandy Whitetail Trophy Buck for Taylor"
Photo provided by: Taylor Kleinpeter

Taylor Kleinpeter writes, "I've had my eye on this buck for 3 years. Gator is what everyone calls him because he has a set of brow tines that resemble alligator feet. This buck was thought to be about 6 years old due to his body and his face. Last year was said to be the first year we felt he was mature enough to hunt and harvest. Unfortunately, Gator was very, very smart... The only time we've ever seen him was on our many game cameras scattered throughout the property. Because his 'territory' was so scattered, any stand we hunted could potentially lead us to him. Never had anyone had the privilege of actually seeing him in person.. until this past Tuesday, 1/13/15. My dad and I decided to head out to the camp last minute in the wet cold and test our hunting ability in a stand that wasn't great for that harsh north wind we had; sludged through the swampy water in far from appropriate hunting attire (since I left work a little early), got in the stand at about 3:45, and waited... and waited until I started realizing I most likely wasn't going to see anything seeing that I may have had only 10 minutes left of daylight. All of a sudden, there he was... we noticed 2 bucks coming out of the brush about 150 yards from us. Because we've never seen him in the flesh, I couldn't believe it was actually him. In fact, so much so that I didn't believe my dad when he confirmed that it actually was. It didn't take me long to grab the gun and see for myself that it in fact was HIM! Finally, his time had come. And I, ME, was going to harvest him!!! The shakes came quickly and my adrenaline was pumping. It didn't take me long to get my scope on him and wait for the perfect moment to hold my breath, finger on the trigger, slow and steady. Boy was that easier to type than to actually do. First, the smaller buck behind him was in the way, then he moved by a big bush that was obstructing my view, then he was facing me, THEN IT WAS PERFECT! Being the animal lover that I am, I knew that not only was I going to be able to fill the bellies of so many people with this 250 lb beast, but also, that he had lived his life as a bad boy. Survival of the fittest was his motto and he did it amazingly. The respect I felt for this animal was uncontrollable but I felt more than honored to be the one to take him. No suffering - years he had been talked about and never seen, the next he's there in front of me and just like that, it was over. My hunt for Gator came to an end on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 5:26 pm. He lived a great at least 8 YEARS (from what the taxidermist says)!! What a privilege, and an experience it was for me. One I'll cherish, appreciate, and NEVER forget. All with my Daddy too."

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