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Means to an end: after a nerve injury to his left hand, Ohio hunter Matt Sheterom was forced to change his entire hunting strategy, but that didn't stop him from knocking down the buck of a lifetime!

Istarted the 2011 hunting season on New Year's Day in Arizona bowhunting javelina and mule deer with my good friend, Trent Swanson with Swarovski Optik. I took my first javelina on day three after a run-in with a metal fence post that required eight stitches in the palm of my left hand. I was very lucky because Trent's wife, Nichole, is a physical therapist, and she constructed a splint so I could draw my bow and not tear out my stitches.

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I returned home and started planning for my Ohio archery season. I was very excited because I had been granted written permission to hunt a suburban farm that I knew held big bucks. The landowners are some of the nicest people I have met and were very accommodating. I encounter many great places to hunt since I sell land and homes in central Ohio as a real estate agent with RE/MAX Affiliates (www.mattshet-erom.com), but I felt like this farm was special.

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Soon after returning home, I noticed muscle atrophy and loss of strength in my left hand. I assumed it had something to do with the fence post injury and immediately saw a neurosurgeon. When the results from testing were back, the doctor explained to me that my ulnar nerve was damaged at my elbow as a result of intense workouts over the last few years. The surgeon explained to me that surgery was my only option to save the use of my hand.

My first thought was how surgery would impact my upcoming archery season. As the surgeon explained the procedure, I kept thinking that it was going to hinder my bow season. I explained to him my concerns and that hunting played a big role in my life and how it impacted my career selling Ohio land. He explained to me that drawing a bow was out of the question for this year, but he would re-evaluate my arm for next season after rehab was completed. I was crushed.

Later that summer I was on a plane with my wife, Amanda, headed for the Dominican Republic for a short vacation. Sitting on the plane next to us were Steve and Wendy Esker. Steve caught the whitetail world by storm after taking back-to-back 200-inch whitetails in 2009 and 2010. As often happens with hunters, we immediately started a hunting conversation that got me fired up to find a way to hunt later in the fall.

When I told Steve about my injury, he immediately recommended a crossbow and offered me a spare Excalibur that he had at home. I took him up on his offer, but I told him I would have to run the idea by my surgeon.

I spoke to the surgeon and his staff, telling them my plan and explaining every aspect of a bow hunt so they would understand and I would not be at risk. They were all very kind and took the time to understand my situation. Actually, instead of rejecting my request, they helped me find solutions, which was awesome. Finally the surgeon agreed to let me use the crossbow with the aid of a shooting stick to support the weight. He also recommended that I not climb into a treestand or drag a deer out of the woods. Knowing the seriousness of my problem, I readily agreed to the conditions and scheduled the surgery for the following week.

That was when my buddy, Jeff Baker, entered the picture. Jeff and I started hunting together about 28 years ago. He is the main reason I know what I know about deer hunting. Jeff took me under his wing as a discouraged younger hunter and simply spent time with me. I killed my very first deer that same year using a Custom Bighom recurve bow.

The day after my surgery we spoke on the phone and I explained to Jeff what the surgeon had said about not climbing into a stand. The best spot I located on the new farm for a good setup was an inside corner that had a cattle fence I had to be able to shoot over. A ground blind just wouldn't do it. Jeff showed up at my house the next day and put me in the passenger seat, cast and all, to go erect a five-foot scaffolding right under the lock-on trees-tand I intended to use that year. We erected the scaffolding, and then set my Primos Max Vision blind on top and camouflaged it with surrounding limbs and leaves.

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I had gathered thousands of trail camera photos from my Moultrie M-80 trail cameras during the summer months prior to surgery and was eager to see how the deer would react to the ground blind setup. Continuing to check my cameras regularly, I was glad to see the deer didn't miss a beat. I had many pictures of bucks, but none were exactly what I was looking for. After meeting Steve, I had my sights set high and told my friends that was where I was going to take my first 200-inch buck.

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Even though I hadn't captured a photo of a buck of that caliber, I knew they were in the area, and I realized that I had to hunt the does as it got closer to the rut. It was the end of October and I was ready. My clothes were washed, my bow was shooting well and I was eager to see if my game plan was correct. I checked the weather and the wind was bad for the first few days of pre-rut. I was getting stir crazy and wanted to get into the woods. On November 2, I checked the weather again and found a wind that was almost wrong for me and almost right for the deer. Almost was good enough for me, so I called my wife at work and told her I was going hunting that evening. She told me to be careful and I was on my way.

When I got to my location, I grabbed my backpack and crossbow and headed to my blind. I was finally going to get to hunt! I got everything situated and called Jeff to let him know I was in the woods. As we spoke, I heard voices and noticed two young girls walking along the fence 20 yards to the north. I was hunting a large parcel of farm and woods nearly surrounded by subdivisions. Unbelievably, these neighbors pay no attention to the law and trespass regularly, using the woods as a short cut and as their personal park. Months prior, when I started to get trail camera pictures of all the people, my first thought was to post the property and run them out. However, when I started to compare the pictures and the times they were taken, I noticed the deer would disappear briefly and reappear shortly after the people left. I learned to use that to my advantage.

As the girls walked out of sight, Jeff and I were talking about how people do not respect property rights when all of a sudden a yellow lab came running down the trail followed by his owner. The two walked 10 yards in front of my blind and down the opposite side of the woods from where the girls just traveled. Hard to believe, but I got it all on video! I was frustrated and excited at the same time and told Jeff I had to get off the phone. Before we hung up Jeff said, "You're going to kill one tonight aren't you?" I just had that feeling and said, "Yes," as I hung up the phone.

About 30 to 40 minutes later, I saw movement in the woods right in between where the girls and guy with the dog had just passed. I remember first noticing a dark rack with a club-like drop tine coming off his left main beam. I picked up my video camera to attach it to the hub-style

camera mount that was on my blind when I noticed the mount on the bottom of the camera was missing. I later remembered I removed it to videotape my stepson Ethan on Halloween! I tried to balance the camera on the mount as the buck got closer, but it was not working and kept sliding off. I took one last look at the buck and decided to forget the camera and pick up the Excalibur!

The buck was 27 yards away and turned broadside as he headed towards a hay field. I could see what I thought was a missing G2 was actually a matching tine curled back almost parallel with his back; he was a monster! The Excalibur was resting on my shooting stick and I put the crosshairs of my scope directly on his shoulder. I chose to shoot a T3 broadhead by G5 as recommended by several experienced bowhunters. The T3 is designed to be tough and has been proven itself to me. I made sure my limbs were clear of the blind, picked my spot, and squeezed the trigger. The arrow flew true and the T3 took the buck straight through the left shoulder and buried deep into his right shoulder. The buck dropped in his tracks and never found his feet again.

I nocked another arrow and sat there watching to see if the buck was going to get up, but he didn't. I unloaded the bow and with one arm, finally made it out of the blind before heading over to assess my buck. When I got to him all I could think of was how surreal the whole experience was. If I had not had a great wife and the greatest friends, this would not have happened. I am a very lucky man to have all of those great people in my life.

I immediately picked up my cell phone and called Jeff, Steve and my wife. Jeff said he was on his way to help, Amanda was very happy for me, and Steve was beside himself with excitement but out of town for work and pleaded for pictures to be sent to his phone. I complied! When Jeff arrived and laid eyes on my buck, all I could do was give him a hug. Without Jeff in my life helping me learn the woods, shoot my bow, and simply have respect for what we do and the game we pursue, none of this would have been possible. He has been a great friend and mentor.

My buck has a dark, heavy rack with 18 scorable points including four drop tines. His right G2 is curled back almost parallel with his spine. His official SCI score was 203 0/8 and his Boone and Crockett net score was 197 0/8.

The next morning my buddy J.T. Kreager (www.nexthunt.com) and his son Jared stopped by to check out my buck. J.T. knows big deer and graced the cover of North American Whitetail in 2011 with his 190 2/8-inch typical Ohio whitetail. His appreciation of my buck and his kind comments regarding my determination were heartfelt and very much appreciated by me. We all enjoyed a brief celebration before I skinned him out and headed to donate the venison to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry.

My year started very roughly and appeared at the time to have what most would assume to be a dismal ending. However, with the cooperation of my family, friends, and one Ohio giant, it turned out to be a year full of blessings. It confirmed my belief in the great people that surround me daily.
MATT SHETEROM BUCK

Scorable points    18 (9R, 9L)
Tip-to-tip spread      12 3/8
Greatest spread        25 5/8
Inside spread          18 1/8

Total length of abnormal points: 39 5/8

Areas Measured    Right    Left   Difference

Main Beam        26 3/8   26 2/8         1/8

1st point(G-1)    5 0/8    5 7/8         7/8

2nd point(G-2)   12 4/8   12 0/8         4/8

3rd point(G-3)    6 5/8    9 4/8       2 7/8

4th point (G-4)   3 4/8    3 3/8         1/8

Istcirc. (H-1)    4 6/8    4 4/8         2/8

2nd circ. (H-2)   4 2/8    4 2/8          --

3rd circ. (H-3)   5 1/8    4 4/8         5/8

4th circ. (H-4)   3 2/8    3 5/8         3/8

Totals           71 3/8   73 7/8       5 6/8

Gross typical score               163 3/8
Subtract side-to-side difference   - 56/8
Add abnormal points               + 395/8
FINAL NET NON-TYPICAL SCORE       197 2/8

Taken by: Matt Sheterom Date: 11/02/11
Location: Franklin County, Ohio
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Author:Sheterom, Matt
Publication:North American Whitetail
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 25, 2012
Words:2138
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