Archer wallops giant 19-pointer

Correspondent

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.  Bob Meingast thinks Wisconsin’s ban on deer
baiting might have helped him put a tag on what could be one of the
largest bucks ever taken with by bow in northeastern Wisconsin.

The 61-year-old Sturgeon Bay man arrowed a 19-point, 205-pound
(dressed) buck Sept. 16, three evenings into the state’s bow deer
season.

Even more impressive, he did it by setting up in thick cover and
shooting the trophy from a ground blind at a distance of about 13
yards.

Dressed in three layers of Scent-Lok clothing when he made the
shot, Meingast had picked a spot where he figured deer would stage
before moving out under the cover of darkness to the surrounding
fields.

“Anybody who uses a tree stand would pass it right by,” he said.
“There aren’t any decent trees for a stand in that area, and even
if there were, you couldn’t get a shot off from above it’s too
thick.”

Meingast tried baiting about five years ago, but abandoned it
soon after. He believes the ban will help hunters spot more deer
this season.

“It’s so counterproductive,” Meingast said of baiting. “You
leave scent every time you go in and out, and then the yearling
deer camp on the bait, spooking everything else.”

Meingast’s buck was not yet green-scored, but a number of
admirers guessed it would easily gross over 200 inches. The inside
spread was 18 inches, some tines were pushing 10 inches and the
main beam was about 51/2 inches thick in most spots.

“When I saw him, I couldn’t believe it,” Meingast said. “My
heart was racing, but I still managed to get off a good shot.”

His carbon arrow from a bow set at 50 pounds took out both lungs
and nicked the heart. The buck ran about 30 yards and died.

Meingast was hunting a funnel in a cedar swamp from a ground
blind he had put out a couple weeks before the season.

“A lot of guys don’t realize how fussy big deer are about scent
and changes in their surroundings,” he said. “I brought the blind
in early and placed grass and branches around it to make it blend
in.”

Door County taxidermist John Mallien is doing the mount. He said
it will be ready for display and measuring at the Wisconsin Deer
Classic next winter.

Meingast got more good news from technical support at Mathews,
the popular Wisconsin bow maker. Shooting the new SQ2, Meingast
thought the bow’s 70 percent let-off would keep his deer out of the
record book, since bows must be no more than 65-percent let-off to
qualify for P&Y.

Instead, he received this reply: “Bob, your bow’s cam is 70
percent with hysteresis, which means that the 70-percent let-off is
effective let-off. P&Y measures by actual let-off and your cam
is actually 65 percent let-off; therefore it is P&Y legal. You
can get your buck in the books.”

Meingast has been deer hunting for nearly 50 years with rifles,
but first started bow hunting in 1994. The first five years,
Meingast could devote only two to four trips a season due to job
demands, though he often hunted the gun season from dawn to dusk
daily.

He took an early retirement in 1999 and decided to bow hunt
seriously.

“I used to hunt the Chequamegon National Forest, and this (Door
County) is a lot different habitat,” Meingast said. “I tried tree
stand hunting, but spent more time trying to find suitable trees
than ambush points.”

He started using a blind in 2000 and the deer soon showed him
his mistakes, though he managed to arrow a doe and miss a big buck.
Last year, after correcting some things, he dropped an
8-pointer.

The 19-pointer must have felt comfortable, stopping only as
Meingast drew the bow back. That gave him just enough time to put
an arrow through the vitals.

Two other trophy bucks were shot in the area opening weekend a
16-pointer in Door County and a 14-pointer in Kewaunee County.

Wade Jeske, a Wisconsin Bowhunters Association board member and
an archery shop owner in Lena, credits last year’s warm gun hunt
with saving a lot of deer.

“The odds of seeing bigger bucks are better than ever this
year,” he said. “And with the baiting ban, if guys play by the
rules, the deer should really have to move around a lot to find
enough natural food. That’ll increase sightings.”

Jeske said he noticed a drop in sales almost immediately after
speculative stories concerning chronic wasting disease appeared in
some major state newspapers this spring.

However, business has picked up dramatically in the past
week.

“I think people overreacted at first, and now they’re putting
the risks in perspective,” he said.

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