The Modena Monarch: by Don Gorichanaz

spacer trail camera photo of the Modena Monarch
I deemed this buck the Modena Monarch because his rack had such mass and character.

The first time we walked the property in spring we knew that there was a big deer using one corner of the land as his home turf. Huge beds, large tracks and old rubs told a story. The seven year old CRP pines and tall weeds provided ideal cover. We decided to stay out of it as much as possible and set stands up on the edges.

A friend with property a mile away had sent me pictures of a huge nontypical in velvet with a note to keep an eye out for him. A few weeks later he showed up on one of our game cameras. I love racks that carry heavy mass and character. He had both, so I deemed him the Modena Monarch…and I wanted him!

Wednesday, October 18th, 2005, I hunted the morning on the west end of our land. No sightings, but from the stand I could see a fresh rub. Upon closer examination I noted interesting gouge marks and felt certain they were the signature markings of the Monarch.

That evening I decided to hunt the “Hard Luck” stand uphill from the rub where I could get a good view of the area and possibly call him in. Now the “Hard Luck” stand is stand I made out of an old extension ladder I inherited from my late grandpa. Gramps was a diehard deer hunter who had an incredible 25 year run of bad luck hunting. I often thought the curse of Gramps followed that stand. Used on four different properties over 15 years the stand had brought nothing but misery and heartbreak to all that dared to use it. Being only a little superstitious, I still thought there could be some magic in that old stand.

With near perfect conditions, I climbed into “Hard Luck” and settled in. At 6:00pm a big doe and her fawn managed to sneak out behind me. They came out of the CRP and into the cut bean field. Twice I thought of drawing back on the doe but was pinned down. Then I remembered my mission and left them be. Little did I know what a factor those two deer would play in the next several minutes.

spacer trail camera photo of the Modena Monarch
The curse of the Hard Luck Stand was lifted. The Modena Monarch grosses 172 3/8″ with 15 scorable points.

As the Doe walked along the field edge she came right up on path I took in. She turned and bolted back into the CRP with the fawn on her heels. Why she did not blow, I do not know, but seconds after they were back in the CRP, all heck broke loose. Loud crashing noises with the doe now blowing loudly. That was soon followed by a faint grunt that sounded like it belonged to a young buck. Just to be sure I thought I better try and call him in. As I reached for my grunt call, I realized I had left it in the truck. “Dang!” Could this be the cursed stand again.?

With light fading fast, I decided to try to rattle him in. After a fifteen second sequence I set my rattle bag down and waited. Less than a minute later I heard the buck take a few steps, then stop. “Come on,” I thought, “Time’s running out.” Finally he closed the distance, stepped out, and stopped. The buck now stood broadside at ten yards. “Are you kidding me? Its not supposed to be this easy!” I aimed tight to the shoulder but don’t remember squeezing the release. I could not pick up the arrow flight in the low light but the wonderful sound of the broadhead smashing thru the chest cavity was music to my ears. He sprinted down the hill. Just as he went out of sight I heard him crash and let out a mournful sounding death grunt. I looked at my watch and saw that it was one minute to closing time. Still not certain of a good hit, I was going to sneak out and wait. But coyotes were yipping and moving in within two minutes. I climbed down and waved my arms and that apparently scared them off.

I then snuck out and went back to camp to wait. As luck would have it my buddy Jim stopped by to see how I was doing. I brought him up to speed and then began to second guess myself. Was he the Monarch? No arrow found at the shot site…”Did I get a good hit?”

Once back at “Hard Luck” we quickly got on his trail. I let Jim lead because of my colorblindness. As I stood at the last blood, Jim backed out and told me I should go first. I took a few steps and there he lay. It was indeed the Modena Monarch. The shot had been perfect, tight to the shoulder taking out both lungs. He had only gone 70 yards. The curse of the “Hard Luck” stand had finally been lifted. Incredibly, I had shot him just ten feet from where he let the trail cam take his picture and less than forty yards from his bedding area. He crashed just twenty yards from what may have been his last rub.

The Modena Monarch grosses 172 3/8″ with 15 scorable points, and he field dressed 220 pounds.

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