Trophy Buck – Nelson Buck

February 19, 2009 by  

Our Outdoors
Nick Simonson

This trophy buck grossed 199 5/8 and 173 7/8 net

This trophy buck grossed 199 5/8 and 173 7/8 net

The traffic has been steady coming into Quality Alignment and Brake Center, but many visitors aren’t stopping in for tune ups. Brian Nelson, part owner of the Valley City business is the main draw these days after taking what many are calling the largest buck shot in Barnes County in several decades.

“The first time I saw him was about 10 days before the rifle opener,”, the Valley City native said, speaking of his pre-season scouting, “I saw him three more times before opening day, chasing a doe around the farm,” he continued.

The trophy buck was a resident on and around the 40-acre farm Nelson lives on south of Valley City; though the avid hunter had never seen him before, or at least with the headgear the buck sported this season. This massive main frame five-by-five with a split G2 and a crown of thorny kickers dwarfed any other deer Nelson had observed this year and eclipsed the 130-class buck he had taken in 2005.

After searching for this monster on and around his farm on opening day and the following Saturday, Nelson lucked out. He saw the massive-racked buck chasing a doe the morning of the second day of the season. The pair entered a grove of trees near his farm and settled in. Nelson knew his next moves would be important ones.

Preparation and patience

On Saturday afternoon, the hunt stopped. Nelson cautiously set up his deer blind on the path he figured the buck would follow out of the trees and near his barn. Then he waited for Sunday morning, hoping the buck would remain in the trees, and then hopefully, take the path Nelson had guessed.

Sunday morning, just before daybreak, Nelson and his father, Dave, quietly loaded into the elder Nelson’s truck. Dave dropped Brian off and he set up in his blind, hoping to see the monster awake and on the move.

“Right at dawn, I saw a doe, and about fifteen minutes later a doe and two fawns grazed their way across the bean field,” Nelson said.

As dawn turned to day, Nelson began to think that the trophy buck was gone. In fact, he was about ready to give the spot up and select a new approach. “I thought to myself ‘20 minutes, or a half hour more, and I’ll move’” he recounted, growing more frustrated and anxious with each passing moment.


Shortly after that thought, he looked out and saw a buck – THE buck – step out of the trees ever so slightly. “All I could see was the head and the neck at first,” he recalled. He pulled up his binoculars to confirm what his eyes saw at a distance, at that moment, he realized that was his chance.

The deer provided Nelson with a clear shot and he raised his .30-378 Weatherby rifle. “I wasn’t holding it as steady as I would have liked to,” Nelson said with a smile and a laugh. He braced the rifle with a pair of steady sticks and fired off one round. The animal stopped in its tracks and fell to the ground.

“As I walked up to the animal, I was in awe,” he stated, “usually deer like that have ground-shrink, but this guy was just the opposite; that’ll never happen again in my life,” he continued.

Nelson’s father came to the scene of the kill after hearing the gunshot, and Nelson called his wife of 10 years, Jessica, requesting the camera and relating the story to her. Nelson’s children, Bryce, 7, Corey, 5, and Jada, who recently turned 2, were excited beyond words.

“I don’t remember what they said exactly, but I recall they were as excited as I was,” Nelson remembers of the moments after the hunt with his family.

An experienced hunter, Nelson has a new trophy buck for his collection which includes a Grizzly Bear and Caribou he shot while hunting with his brother in Alaska. Couple this monster buck with his 1996 North Dakota big horn sheep, and that’s two once-in-a-lifetime animals.

The Nelson buck, unofficially green scored at 199 5/8 gross, and 173 7/8 net, will be mounted by J&K Taxidermy in West Fargo and will recount the shot of a lifetime, and a deer that will most certainly live on as a local legend…in our outdoors.


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