Michael Dickerson had come up empty in past hunts, but he finally got his Nebraska trophy this past September.
Dickerson of Davison, Michigan, now holds the Nebraska record typical mule deer taken by archery. He stalked and shot the deer, which scored 197 4/8, Sept. 10, 2018, on private land in the badlands of northern Sioux County.
“It truly was a privilege to have an opportunity at such a great animal,” said Dickerson, 40.
Randy Stutheit, Nebraska big game trophy records coordinator for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, said Dickerson’s deer is the second largest typical mule deer entered into the Nebraska records regardless of method of take. The top Nebraska mule deer of 200 3/8 was taken with a muzzleloader by Miles Lemley of Lyman, Nebraska, in Scotts Bluff County in 2007. The previous archery record was 187 2/8.
The Pope and Young Club said Dickerson’s trophy, with its current score, would rank in the top 25 nationally in the typical mule deer archery records maintained by the club. Scoring a trophy is a combination of measurements of antler tine length and mass.
“It is quite an accomplishment to harvest a mule deer of this size using bow and arrow,” Stutheit said. “The details of Dickerson’s hunt illustrate the patience and skill necessary to achieve this level of success.”
The morning of the hunt, Dickerson and a friend located and watched the deer for several hours, anticipating where it would bed so he could stalk within 65 yards. Eventually, he noticed it bedding with three other bucks and the stalk began.
“Over the next three hours we played a game of chess, checking each drainage for other animals while quietly sneaking into position,” Dickerson said.
The bucks began feeding their way up a valley and into a bowl, which put a small hill between them and the hunters.
Dickerson crept up behind the hill. The trophy deer was feeding broadside when Dickerson’s range finder read 57 yards. “I drew my compound bow and stood up for the shot, which caused him to lift his head and look my direction. I thought to myself, ‘This is the opportunity you have been waiting for your whole life. Take a deep breath and aim small.’ ”
Dickerson’s shot hit directly behind the front shoulders. The buck kicked his back legs and ran to higher ground, stopping shortly after and turning back toward Dickerson. “He looked back at me almost as if he didn’t know what had happened. Shortly after he fell over and it was over.”
The hunter said he felt several emotions after the deer fell. “I had just shot the biggest mule deer of my life and felt as though all those failed stalks and hours on stand had all paid off.”
Dickerson, a board member of the Flint, Michigan, chapter of Safari Club International, said he appreciates the opportunity to hunt in Nebraska.
“I have hunted Nebraska in previous years and understood the game-rich environment,” he said. “The opportunity to harvest such great animals in a spot-and-stalk situation is what drew me to the area.”
For more information on the Nebraska Big Game Records Program, and to browse the record database, visit outdoornebraska.gov/