It’s one thing to get a trail-cam pic or two of a mature buck, and quite another to have the buck’s sheds, assemble a library of photos of the deer, and then have that buck walk into bow range on the opening day of archery season. But that’s just what happened to LeRoy Purrier when he tagged a giant 6×5 whitetail on Minnesota’s archery opener. The buck green-grosses close to 180 inches stands an excellent chance of making the Boone & Crockett record book as a typical.
Purrier became aware of the buck back in January, when he purchased a 90-acre property in Fillmore County. “The previous owner had a history with the buck and had hunted it in 2022, but couldn’t connect,” he told F&S. “I bought the farm in January from Chad Garteski (owner of Weiss Realty, whose trophy buck we profiled last fall), and was really amped up when I found both of the buck’s sheds that winter. Pretty much everything I did on the property from that point on was designed to help me shoot this buck.”
The parcel is largely wooded, with just enough room for some nice food plots, according to Purrier. “It’s about 85 percent timbered, and there are 14 tillable acres that allowed me to establish a couple of nice plots, as well as some native grasses,” he said.
It wasn’t long before the big typical buck became a regular on Purrier’s trail cameras. “At the beginning of summer, he seemed pretty faithful to one end of the farm, and it made sense, as there was some thick bedding cover there where he probably felt safe,” he said. As the bow opener approached, however, the buck switched to the other end of the farm, where he had a food plot planted to turnips, rape, chicory and radishes. With the season only days away, the was in the plot in daylight for seven days in a row. “Needless to say I was pretty excited, but also a bit worried, as each daylight visit was getting later and later.”
Opening day found Purrier in an elevated box blind on the food plot, crossbow in hand. “I fell from a tree stand a few years ago and spent six weeks in the hospital with a spinal cord injury,” he said. “It was quite the journey to get back into deer hunting, and while I can’t draw a bow any more, I never take hunting for granted anymore.” As the afternoon wore on, deer began to filter into the field, including another mature buck that Purrier would have been happy to shoot had he not known about the tall-racked typical.
“That big buck was feeding at about 35 yards, and there were at least a dozen other deer in the food plot when they all stopped feeding at once and looked back in the woods,” Purrier said. “When I followed their stares, I could see that tall rack coming toward the food plot. I’d literally spent hours looking at pictures, videos, and the sheds from that buck, and I still wasn’t prepared to see him walking toward me. I knew which deer it was immediately and slowly opened a window of the blind, hoping he’d walk into range.”
Though area deer had long ago accepted Purrier’s blind as part of their world, cracking the window suddenly had their attention. “I don’t know if it made a little noise, or a doe suddenly saw an opening that wasn’t there before or what, but all of a sudden almost every deer was looking right at me,” he said. “Fortunately, the big one was not one of them. He walked into the food plot and when he got close to the other mature buck he stopped to feed. He was only 35 yards away, but I couldn’t shoot because the other buck was in the way. It felt like an eternity, especially since several of the deer were still acting nervous. I was worried a doe would spook and clear the plot.”
Fortunately, the other buck finally shifted positions, and Purrier had a clear shot at his dream deer. “He was well within range at 35 yards, but it looked to me like the shot was a little back,” he recalled. “He tore off the field, and I waited for 45 minutes before I even got out of the blind. I found my arrow in the field, and it had good blood on it, but I wasn’t taking any chances with a deer like that. One of my buddies was hunting with me that night, and when we met after dark, we agreed we’d take up the blood trail in the morning.”
Purrier, who now had three other friends to help him track, started blood-trailing shortly after daybreak. “As it turned out, I’d hit the buck perfectly, and he barely made off the food plot,” he said. “We found him after a short tracking job, and it was something else walking up on a deer I’d dreamed about for so long. And, of course, it was even more special because I had my friends with me.”
Cracking the B&C net typical mark is one of whitetail hunting’s harder barriers, but Purrier’s buck stands an excellent chance. The tall-tined 6X5 sports a 20-inch inside spread, 25-inch main beams, and 5-½-inch bases. “His G2’s and G3’s were each 11-½ inches and his G4’s were 8 inches each,” he said. “We measured him at 179 inches gross green.” While Purrier will have to wait for the 60-day drying period to know if the buck tops the 170-inch minimum for a B&C net typical, the final score really doesn’t matter to the veteran hunter.
“Tagging him was truly a bittersweet moment,” Purrier said. “I’d spent the last several months thinking of that deer pretty much non-stop, and now it was over. But I love the entire process, which is just a lifestyle more than anything. Now it’s time to take my daughters down to the property and help them enjoy hunting it too. And spend time with my wife, Cindy, who tolerates my passion and supports me more than anyone I know. I couldn’t enjoy success like this without her!”
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