Hunter hunting along a marsh

Angelique Bugeja


  • Date Taken: 12/02/2021
  • Time Of Day: Morning
  • Method: Crossbow
  • Official Score: TBD
  • County: Livingston County
  • Property: Private
  • Type of Photo: Deer
  • Dressed Weight: 288lbs

I hunted a few days before Thanksgiving with my crossbow from my favorite stand on our property. My shotgun sights are off and I knew I wasn’t gonna reach for anything out of range of a crossbow in that stand anyway. I saw plenty of deer that day. There were lots of does and fawns underneath and all around me. I saw an absolute monster casually strolling by about 150 yards out with another really nice buck following him. He made the 2nd buck look tiny. I couldn’t call or rattle him in and didn’t want to overdo it and give away my position either. So I watched sadly as the two leisurely strolled on by. Fast forward to December 2nd I’m getting my son ready for school when my partner pokes his head out of the bedroom door, “shooter buck out back, shooter buck out back!” I’m thinking hes jerking my chain at this point but glanced out the window anyway. Sure enough, there he was. So I grabbed my crossbow off the hook in the garage, snuck out and put a beautiful broadside shot on him witnessed by my boyfriend from the window. He assured me it was a fantastic hit and about an inch of fletching was still sticking out of the side of him. This worried me because at that distance my bolt should have gone straight through and then some. I waited an agonizingly long hour before beginning to track him which gave a friend of ours who is fairly new to and enjoys tracking, a chance to to come out and track with us. About 5yds from where I shot him I found the broadhead half of my bolt absolutely covered in blood. He was fairly easy to track not just because of the size of his hoofprints but he was putting his left front down in a very awkward way so even though there was practically no blood initially, I was still able to continue tracking him. About another 30 or so yards on I found the 2nd half of the bolt. After that tracking him was easy as there was plenty of blood to follow. My partner says, i think i see him and we found him flipped upside down. I knew he was a big deer but had no idea how enormous he was until we actually found him. He’s the biggest bodied deer I’ve ever seen in person, in my life. I couldn’t even wrap my arms around his body! I’ve never scored a buck before myself so I followed all of the instructions per B&C online and came up with a very conservative gross green score of score of 156.125 and14 scorablebpoints. My son promptly named him Buckzilla. My late father, Robert Bugeja, was a very well known deer processor in Wayne County and I used to help him in his shop every year. As a result I cannot truly see the size of a deer until its hanging (or I’m cleaning up backstraps lol.) Due to arthritis sadly, I can no longer process my own deer so I took him to Tab’s Custom Cuts. Once we got him hung I realized just how massive he really was. A friend had him on game camera just before Thanksgiving. After going through photos and comparing details, I realized that I had shot “the beast from the buck field.” I’ve photographed a massive buck multiple times in velvet back in June – July as my son and I drive by on the way to/from school and have dreamed of shooting him since. I asked Dad to send him to me many times since and he finally did! Buckzilla’s upper front teeth are ground down to almost nothing and my taxidermist estimates him to be a 6.5yr old buck. He’ll be officially scored after the drying out period is over. I’m still very much on-tilt with buck fever one week later! The massive size of his body still blows me away. He’s the 3rd buck I’ve taken from our property and certainly a buck of a lifetime! Thanks again Dad!!