South Dakota Woman Tags a “Moose” of a Whitetail

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Shauna Woodward tagged to monter whitetail on November 13. Shauna Woodward

South Dakota isn’t a state known for moose hunting, but Shauna Woodward did her best to change that last month. Hunting on her family farm, she arrowed a heavily palmated whitetail nicknamed “Moose” that she’d had been chasing for three seasons. “We’re pretty serious about letting bucks get fully mature before we try to tag them, and this buck was the only deer on my hit-list for the fall,” Woodward told F&S. The veteran bowhunter displayed extreme patience in her pursuit of Moose, finally arrowing him on November 13.

Woodard and her husband Richard first spotted the buck in 2021. “He was a basic 4X4 with an long extra tine that swooped up and out from the base,  which made him easy to spot,” she said. “We guessed him to be 4-½ years old that fall, and he was not on our hit list. The next fall, 2022, he’d added a lot more bone and had really blown up. Unfortunately we had a really bad drought that year and lots of bucks had brittle antlers and were breaking off points. So we ended up not killing any bucks off our farm that year.

Trail camera pictures of a whitetail but in 2021, 2022, and 2023
Right to left: Trail camera pictures of Moose in 2021, 2022, and 2023. Shauna Woodward

Going into the 2023 season, there was no doubt Moose was on Woodard’s hit list. “He’d become incredibly palmated, and when we started getting pics of him in velvet, I knew he was the only buck I wanted to kill,” she said. “I was actually in Manitoba bear hunting when our archery season opened back home, and all I could think about was how I should be home, hunting for Moose.” Woodard took up the pursuit as soon as she returned home, and she actually had several encounters with the monster buck. “He was definitely the dominant buck on the farm, and several times I had him at 60 or 70 yards away, then he’d trot off to chase a doe or run off a smaller buck. I tried to stay smart and keep out of his bedding area so I didn’t spook him.”

That all changed November 13, when Woodard made a careful stalk to her stand. “I left about 10 a.m.,, knowing it would be a slow process to sneak past bedded deer and reach the stand,” she recalled. “I actually had a small 8-point walk in front of me at 10 yards; he got nervous and trotted off and I was holding my breath, hoping he wouldn’t spook too many deer. When he bounded off, I saw a palmated rack emerge from the woods—Moose! He was 50 yards off and acting a little nervous, wondering what had spooked the smaller buck. Eventually he ran off across the pasture, following that small buck into a strip of cedars. I managed to sneak over to a Redneck blind we’d set along that line of cedars.

Woman sitting on the ground in woods showing off a huge whitetail buck
Patience paid off for Shauna Woodward when she arrowed the huge palmated buck. Shauna Woodward

Woodard reached the blind, opened only one window to minimize her scent, and settled in to wait. “Deer started moving, and I could see the small buck bumping does in and out of the cedar strip. Then Moose emerged, following the does as they moved toward my stand. A big doe was only 50 yards away, and I opened a window in that direction as I could hear Moose in the cedars, thrashing trees and grunting. Eventually the doe walked out of the strip to just 20 yards, and I prayed that Moose would follow her same path. When he did, I was at full draw; I settled in and shot him as he walked. I knew the shot was a bit back, but he was quartering away. I snuck back to the house and waited three hours, then came back and took up the trail.” Woodward found found Moose only 80 yards from where she’d shot him. “The saga of Moose was over, and he was a prime example of why we let them go, so they can grow.”

The post South Dakota Woman Tags a “Moose” of a Whitetail appeared first on Field & Stream.

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