The "High Rack 10"
by Mark Fetcho

10/08 Pennsylvania

The deer on the left in this picture was taken on the first day of the 1993 Pennsylvania rifle season. I was living on a 170-acre farm at the time that was surrounded by corn and soybean fields. I had been spotting in the evening during the whole summer and had come across two potential shooters. One was a wide racked 10 pointer that was about 12inches high. I watched him through most of the summer months and got pretty familiar with his feeding and bedding habits. To the point that I had a real good idea where to set up for him on opening day.

But about a month before the opening day, I was out right at dusk riding through the fields behind the house looking for the wide rack buck at one of his usual stops. I had just spotted him about 100 yds. From the truck and was looking him over to make sure he had not been fighting and broken anything off. Because the rut was just about to peak and earlier in the week I had watched two young bucks really putting on a show behind the barn. They were in a real knock down drag out brawl. So I was concerned that the big ten would be out defending what I thought was his turf at the time and do damage to his rack. But as I watched him feeding with a couple of does, out of the dark came this high racked buck and just rammed into the big ten and sent him rolling. I was I think more surprised then the buck was. I have no idea where this other buck had come from. I hadn’t ever seen him on the property before. But one things for sure, he was here now and he was making his presence known in big way. I watched as he strutted around the area and just took over the does and that whole field. The wide racked ten hung around for a few minutes more and then just walked off.

From that moment on, my hunting strategy changed. For the remainder of that month every minute I wasn’t working I was out in the fields looking for that high rack buck. I took a tape recorder with me and recorded where I saw him, at what time, how many doe he had with him, and his location on the property. It took some doing to get a pattern on him because he didn’t seem as calm with the spotting light as the other buck was. Most of the time he would cut me off when I tried to get him in the light and dart into the nearest wood line so that I couldn’t get a good look at him. Up to this point, all that I knew was that he was real high and had some good mass.

One afternoon after work I decided to go out on foot and see if I could find any sign of the high rack. This was about two weeks before the rifle season opener. About 500 or so yds. Behind the barn where the field ended and the high grass started there was a small patch of row trees about 30yds. Or so wide. This looked like a good travel corridor and after a better look, my hunch was conformed. I came across a rub line that was all of 50 yds. Long and these were not little trees. There were about 20 of them, the smallest being about 4inches in diameter. I also found 5 beds that looked as if they were pretty fresh. There was no doubt in my mind that the high rack was traveling through here. All I had to do was find out when. So later that afternoon I went back out to the rub line and set up. I hadn’t been there an hour when I saw my first deer, a really big doe. She made her way through the wood line right where I thought she would and started feeding about 100 yds. To my right. When I turned to see if anything was following her there he was. Coming out of the trees right in front of me at no more than 50 yds. Was” high rack”. I got the glasses on him and got a real good look at his headgear. He had a typical eight-point frame with a 5inch kicker between the brow and the g-2 on his left side. On the other side he had a second brow tine right in front of the first one that looked almost fake. This deer had a lot of mass and some deep groves in his rack.

Opening day was cold. No snow just wind and cold. I left the house at 5:00 and made my way by flashlight back to the wood line. I set up where the field made a cut back into the woods and where the rub line was up to my right coming in from behind me. The wind calmed down a bit around 5:30 or so and was hitting me in the back which was perfect because I was expecting the buck to come in from behind me. At 7:15 I saw a hunter working the field edge all the way over on the other side of the property and he must have been new to deer hunting. He just walked back and forth about five times along the edge of the field like he was on guard duty or something, then walked off into the woods.

Not long after that guy left I caught movement where he had been. There was a deer, a buck and he shot out of the edge of the field like he had been shot out of a gun and was coming right to me. I raised my 30-06 and got him in the scope. It was “high rack.” I watched as he made his way across the open field and quickly made a plan of where to take the shot. He would have to pass a small thicket before making his way up the hill and into the wood line. That is where I would take him. But as he got to the thicket he stopped. For what seemed like 5 minutes, he just stood there. I kept the scope right on him not knowing which way he would go. Finally, he stepped out into the open at 70yds. And I shot. He spun completely around and was facing the way he had come from, took 3 shaky steps and dropped. When I got to him I was amazed at the size of his body. He field dressed at 190 lbs. His rack was only 15 inches wide but was 18 inches high with 21/4-inch bases.

For Mark's Other Deer - Super Trail Tree Stand

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