Ryan Carrier’s Saskatchewan Scorcher

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Canadian bowhunter joins the 200-inch club with one of the largest bucks taken so far in 2019

Rack Report Details
Buck: 222 7/8 Inches
Time of Year: September 15, 2019
Place: Saskatchewan, Canada
Weapon: Compound bow

Ryan Carrier's buck sported 19 scoreable points, and two more that were just shy of being tallied. (Ryan Carrier photo)

Ryan Carrier was cooking. At 3 p.m., he’d managed to sneak into his ground blind without breaking a sweat — but he had a long sit ahead of him. The wind wasn’t blowing, and the sun was blazing on the blind canvas. “I was so hot I ended up taking off my shirt and misting myself with Scent Killer,” Carrier said. “I wasn’t convinced deer were going to move in daylight.”

He was wrong. A doe and fawn came out early and then left. An hour later, more does trickled through. Then, at 7:18, the giant non-typical buck Carrier was after stepped out. Carrier had just put his shirt back on, and it looked like he was about to get a shot.

But the encounter didn’t happen by accident. It started with a move across the country.

“I grew up hunting in eastern Canada on the family farm with friends and family,” Carrier said. “Then, sadly, the family farm sold. So, my quest for big whitetails brought me to Saskatchewan in 2012.”

Carrier met a few area farmers who were nice enough to grant him hunting permission. Diligent scouting revealed a huge buck in the area. Carrier found the deer’s sheds from two previous years, but he needed to pattern the buck to have any chance of tagging him. The early season was looking good, and as always, food sources played a major role. Soybeans — a great early and late-season food source — were abundant on the farm this season.

The Carrier buck packed on the inches in 2019. (Ryan Carrier photo)

Carrier had given the buck a pass the previous season. “I let him live the previous year because he had broken tines,” he said.

So, he went in this summer, prepped his ground blind, and posted some cameras. The pictures showed the buck had grown — a lot. “I had been scouting and following this deer by myself,” Carrier said. “A handful of hunting buddies knew about the deer and my quest.”

After glassing the deer last summer, he opted not to go in and potentially bump deer. This year, he let his trail cameras do the work instead. “I glassed him from afar twice last year [2018] and bumped him once,” Carrier said. “But I didn't lay eyes on him [this summer]. I just trusted I knew where he'd be and stayed out of there as much as possible this year.”

“I put my shirt back on shortly before shooting him. I might have a new blind ritual to follow now.”

Then, opening day arrived. And Carrier had more than the crops in his favor. His ground blind setup was just about perfect, with a hidden entry and exit route. “I had a brush line to the right, where I could sneak in and out,” he said. “There was brush behind my blind as well. And a grassy opening in front of me between two crop fields.”

The biggest challenge the day of the hunt was the heat. After a week or so of rain, it was now very sunny and hot. The wind was dead calm later in the afternoon, too. Fortunately, that didn’t seem to affect the deer much. “It had rained for a week and a half straight leading up to [opening] weekend,” Carrier said. “The crops were all still in, which was frustrating for farmers but good for me. He kept the same pattern he’d been on all summer.”

After the buck appeared, it quickly offered a slightly-quartering, 26-yard shot at. The hit was perfect, and the deer didn’t run far before tipping over. “I put my shirt back on shortly before shooting him,” he said. “I might have a new blind ritual to follow now.”

A welcoming sight for any bowhunter. (Ryan Carrier photo)

Carrier called up a few buddies to help retrieve the buck, and they were all in awe of how big the deer was. It had 19 scoreable points that totaled a whopping 222 7/8 inches. The deer was a brute, too, weighing in at 224 pounds field dressed. Carrier believes it was 5 ½ years old, but he plans to send the jaw in to confirm the buck’s age.

“It’s my second deer with a bow,” he said. “My first deer was a 165 5/8-inch, clean, typical 5x5,” Carrier said. “Back in 2016, it was the largest typical taken with archery tackle in Saskatchewan that year.”

This is certainly a deer of a lifetime and a hunt Carrier will never forget.

“It really means a lot, because no matter how much time, preparation, blood, sweat and tears you put into it, there’s still no guarantee of success,” Carrier said. “It’s very rewarding to have it all come together, especially on a deer that puts you in the coveted 200-inch club.”

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