Cecil the Whitetail

Cecil the Whitetail

No question about it, we love having success stories come in from hunters using DeerLab. Today we received a short message from Casey Moe of Grafton, North Dakota saying "Thanks for all the help with patterning my target buck for this year! I put it to work!". Of course, we wanted to hear more, so here's the rest of the story, straight from Casey...

In June of 2014 a 3.5-year-old 10 point buck measuring around 125 to 130" appeared on my trail cameras. Relatively young and with an already respectable rack for North Dakota, I decided to save his pictures and follow the buck until he was mature enough to harvest.

He seemed to hit puberty in 2015 as his rack jumped to around 140-145". He must have been on a pretty serious workout plan as his shoulders seemed a lot larger too! Thanks to the growth he was now on my hit list.

I seem to "name" my target whitetails and with the recent controversy with Cecil the Lion the name "Cecil" fit him well.

I had over a thousand plus photos of him but I couldn't put all the pieces together. Nothing seemed to be consistent with his movement even though I had eight encounters with him throughout the 2015-16 season. Unfortunately, all sightings were between 60 and 120 yards from my stand. He seemed to always be one step ahead as he would linger in the tree line, not going to the food plot until after dark.

This season (2016-2017) I elected to try out DeerLab because of a recommendation from the Wired to Hunt podcast with Mark Kenyon and Dan Johnson.

After uploading last year's photos of Cecil to DeerLab and creating a profile for him I was amazed at the data DeerLab laid out for me. DeerLab showed me that Cecil moved 25-30% of the time on a new moon and 75-85% on an old moon. The overhead had to be lined up almost right at dusk and he would appear with about 10 mins left of legal shooting light into a mineral station located in a food plot. It showed me where he was most likely bedding from the Heat Maps (this played a big role in the recovery) and it showed me his most visited food plot/camera locations.

On September 8th, 2016, the moon was just about perfect and DeerLab told me that he predominantly moved around dusk. The only thing I did not like was that the overhead was just a tad earlier than he liked. That being said I elected to sit in what I call my "kill stand". To make a long story short, Cecil skirted me at 80 yards. I couldn't believe it.

The next day, September 9th, I decided to sit in the same stand again due to the information DeerLab was giving me. If I didn't get a shot last night, tonight would be the night. The conditions of the wind and moon were perfect and I had a strong feeling he would come.

With 20 minutes of daylight left one of our "shooters" came out and stood at 19 yards. While I contemplated the shot, I elected to wait, and I'm so happy I did! Just seconds later Cecil appeared. I drew back, made a well-placed shot, and Cecil bolted for the woods.

Unfortunately, there wasn't much blood and he led us on a 550-yard wild goose chase. My heart was sinking...I finally got the chance and I blew it.

I wanted to check one more place out before we would call it a night. His main bedding area. I turned around to give up and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the giant rack and a huge body!

"Cecil" the Whitetail Stats

  • 155.5" gross (unofficial because of the 60 day drying period required)
  • 152" net (unofficial because of the 60 day drying period)
  • 1200+ pics of him and aged at 6.5 years. I have watched him since he was a 3.5-year-old when he was a 135"
Jon Livingston
Jon Livingston
Co-founder, DeerLab
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