5 Giant Whitetail Buck Stories from 2022

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Looking back on the best of the Realtree Rack Report from one wild deer season

The Realtree Rack Report has been bringing you the best big buck stories on the Internet for more than a decade — and 2022 might’ve been our best year yet. We shared the tales and photos of 44 different successful hunters and the giant bucks they shot. Some were Realtree pros but most were Average Jill and Joe hunters, from little kids to grandmothers. And they shot some giant whitetails — and a couple stud mule deer too.  

Veteran outdoor writer Josh Honeycutt, who wrote three of last fall's Top 5 reports, said, "There were many stories from the 2022 deer season that I loved, but Laran Kaplan's surprise buck was likely my favorite story. Of course, Darron McDougal's report on the dude dropping a buck while dropping a deuce was a fun read, too. Shooting Booner bucks while taking leaks and poops is unique in a world where most big-buck killers are sitting in air-tight box blinds and spraying scent destroyer every 37 seconds."

Those two stories, plus three additional ones, generated more attention than all the rest last season. After reading through them, it’s easy to see why. Enjoy.  

No. 5 

Massachusetts Bowhunter Shoots 195-Inch Buck While Answering the Call of Nature

Chris Alberini

Chris Alberini wasn’t shy about telling us that he had to take care of some business while he was hunting one morning in late November. The giant buck caught him with his pants down, literally, but Alberini knew better than to leave his bow behind when nature called. Read it here

No. 4 

Iowa Hunter Shoots a Booner After Dogs, 8 People, and a Farmer on a Tractor Clear the Field

Max Mongrello

Max Mongrello had had a tough afternoon. It was late November, warm and windy, and a group of people hiking with a couple dogs busted a pile of deer out of nearby bedding cover and past Mongrello’s stand. A little while later, the farmer pulled up on his tractor and started working on a fence. Mongrello climbed down to help him, and then decided to hunt the last half hour of light when the chore was finished. This huge buck appeared a short time later. Read it here. 

No. 3 

North Carolina Bowhunter Bags Freak of a Buck

Joseph Willard

North Carolina made a good showing last season, with several bucks that were plenty big enough for the Rack Report. But our favorite was this story about the giant 167-inch 9-pointer that Joseph Willard arrowed in late October. Read it here. 

No. 2 

Bowhunter Takes a Leak From Stand, Smokes a Cigarette, Then Shoots Giant Buck 

Laran Kaplan

Iowa bowhunter Laran Kaplan had hunted hard for seven seasons without getting a buck with his bow. But he climbed into his stand one chilly morning this past October, and he spooked a doe when he stood to take a pee. Figuring he’d messed things up, Kaplan then decided to have a smoke. That’s when this 198-inch monster walked into range. Read it here. 

No. 1

Ohio Hunter Shoots 21-Point Buck, Recovers it with his Foot

Alex Wieging

Ohio hunter Alex Wieging was after his target buck during an early October rifle season, and he got his chance just a little while before dark. He took a shot at the 21-pointer with his .450 Bushmaster and thought he made a good hit. But the craziest part of this story didn’t happen until Wieging took up the blood trail. Read it here.