Self Serving Junk

Steve Bartylla

5 year old buck +
So, I'm going to do something I've tried really hard not to do here. I have a new book I wrote for Deer & Deer Hunting that just came out. They named it Big Buck Secrets. I don't want to make this into an infomercial on it, but still wanted to let you know. So, I'll keep it brief.

Before I wrote my first book, I knew what my first 4 would be. 1st, Advanced Stand-Hunting Strategies: all about stand placement through each phase of the season and tricks for making stands work. 2nd, Bowhunting Tactics that Deliver Trophies: I'd named it Details that Deliver Trophies, but they changed it. It's all the little details that I try to address that I believe add up to make a very big difference for me. 3rd, Big Buck Secrets: I didn't have a name for this one, but it covers the more in-depth approaches I take to hunting and is about twice as long as the other two. Don't get me wrong. Everything I do is meat and potatoes type stuff, as that's how I hunt. That said, this is the "deepest" how-too book I'll ever do on hunting. It's supposed to be the 3rd part of what's really a 3 part series.

If someone wants an autographed copy of Big Buck Secrets, kick me an email ( and I'll sell you an autographed copy for $25, tax and shipping included. That said, you can save a few $ by ordering it from amazon. buck secrets steve bartylla&pebp=1416931670479

Keeping with the trend of doing things I never do, I can't remember ever posting a buck I've killed anywhere online for the sake of showing it off. I've posted hero shots, but there was always a reason. This time, I'm just sharing it with a bunch of friends, which I consider every regular poster here I can think of.

I did a couple things I've never done before this year. I knew with writing the book, a project Brooks and I are working on, more TV stuff on my plate and more consulting work than I could handle, I just wasn't going to be able to hunt like I typically do. In fact, as season drew closer, I realized I wouldn't even have the time to use my MN & WI tags and hunt either state at all. The part that stung the most was not hunting public land for the first time since I was 12. I enjoy the heck out of that.

So, knowing I'd only hunt IL and that I'd at most kill 2 bucks, I set my sights on the biggest 5.5+ yr old on that property and decided I'd only hunt him until he died (from me or whatever else) or season ended. Tweenie, a 5.5, projected 168-172" buck was the one that fit those criteria. It's the one I posted pics of before season saying I was after in a thread MO was talking about a stud, younger ghost he has on one of his properties. I've hunted him every single time I went out to hunt so far in 2014 and no one else.

I saw him once, when I dove into his core area, with everything seemingly perfect. It was a little too perfect. I was in stand for less than 90 seconds, bow just put on the hook and ranging markers when I heard a stick break. I look to my right and there he is staring at me, 60 yds away. That was the only time I saw him bowhunting. I kept getting his pics, but they weren't overly consistent in any one spot, except where he busted me.

Fast forward to last Sat. I was about ready to throw in the towel and honestly believed I wouldn't kill him. My latest intel just didn't do anything to tell me "THIS" is where I need to be. So, without a lack of a good plan, I simply went to the lowest impact spot I had that had the largest concentration of deer at it. That's typically my approach when I don't have some form of intel telling me what to do. With the concentration of deer, you never know when a doe or doe fawn may be smelling right and there's a reason they are concentrating there anyway. At the same time, because it's low impact, I'm able to get in and out without doing any harm.

So, a ground blind I'd set on a remote, but low impact corn field is where I headed. An hour before dark, I'd already passed a management, 3.5 yr old 8, had a handful of deer in front of the blind eating and about 20 turkeys anywhere from 3-40 yards out in front of me.

Out of the corner at just over 100 yds pops a mature buck. At first glance, I believed he was Cliff, a 4.5 that I was trying to get 1 more year on. I pointed and turned on the video cam to get some footage of him. Just to be sure, I also put the scope on him. I dang near messed myself seeing it was Tweenie. I'm telling ya, I literally fell apart. I was immediately hyperventilating and shaking like I can never remember doing before on any deer. I was a bowl of jello. As I tried to squeeze off the shot, I pulled/flinched so bad that I wouldn't have even been able to hit the sky. Thankfully, I forgot to turn the safe off. If I hadn't, no way I'd have hit him and he would have run out of my life, most likely forever. By the time I switched it off, he was still 100 yds out, but facing straight head on. I knew there was no way, being this tore up, I could make that shot. So, I adjusted the video cam and zoomed in a smidge more on him.

I was still tore up. So much so that I was very concerned that the turkeys were going to hear me hyperventilating, and I'm NOT exaggerating. I knew I'd have to take the first somewhat decent shot he offered, as this could go south any second, but I needed him to at least quarter to me, so I could put the cross hairs just in front of his near side leg and have an expanded kill zone from what head on offered. I knew in this state I couldn't make the head on shot.

Finally, after about 90 seconds, he turns slightly. Placing the cross hairs, I tried my best to fight the shakes and do a smooth trigger pull. I was off about 6", but got lucky a 2nd time and dropped him in his tracks. A VERY conservative tape job puts him at 173 5/8ths gross.

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Wow nice buck!! Congrats
Congrats. That is an awesome deer. Nice to see I'm not the only one that turns to a mess when pulling the trigger.
"If someone wants an autographed copy of Big Buck Secrets, kick me an email"

I can almost bet most guys on here ain't into yours or anyone else's Autograph Steve?............. just sayin!
That sure is a helluva buck Steve, Congrats! Love the story as well!
"If someone wants an autographed copy of Big Buck Secrets, kick me an email"

I can almost bet most guys on here ain't into yours or anyone else's Autograph Steve?............. just sayin!

completely agree, MO. That's why I included the amazon link, where I get about $1 a book, instead of 10, but it's cheaper for the buyer. That said, I get a lot of friends wanting signed copies for their kids and such.
Well, he's worth not scoring elsewhere. :)
Way to go Steve!

Send Steve the check and let him put $10 in his pocket for all of the great info he has given us.

I have his other two books and I am sure this one is worth $25.
Nice shot Steve. Always is a little sweeter when you earn the buck by making a good shot.

Dandy buck. 170 is the goal I hope to make in my lifetime. I'd have to get very lucky to see something like that on my property but things do happen.

Again, congrats!

congrats steve! thats a great buck! I think i'll have to put that book on my christmas wish list!
Awesome buck Steve and congrats on the new book.
I only wish there was a version that was downloadable. I read parts of the preview and it looks great!
Hell of a buck Steve. Congrats on the deer and book.
That'll be $10 Stu !!!:D:)

Beauty of a buck, Steve ! I love the gnarly junk around the bases. Great story too. I hope none of us ever gets too numb at seeing a good buck in shooting range. It's always exciting to me !!!
Great story, really nice buck. Congrats. I hope your book does well. Don't feel bad about pimping yourself. You offer a good read and good service's & your post are always good.
Steve- Thank you for letting us know about your new book. I'm thankful for the time you came and gave a seminar up in Mille Lacs. It gave me an entire new "much needed" perspective on how to hunt my property. You saved me years of wasted time. I also appreciate that you are extremely humble and not an egomaniac when you could be. I will be looking forward to reading your new book.
Steve, nothing self serving about sharing your success with your friends! First of all, congratulations on a magnificent buck. I'm glad that someone like you got to harvest it and not some poacher with a spotlight.

Also, a big thumbs up on your new book. Your information posted on the forums is always spot on, and I'm sure the book will be even better. I'm not much to just set down and read a book anymore, but this will be one on my reading list. Best wishes!
Here is a link to one of Steve's websites:

I have some customers that troll this site that may find this link useful. Thought I would share with everyone!

Sorry Steve, I am doing a little self serving for you!;)
That's a monster, good job. You don't look too excited In The picture. I call that the Archie bunker smile
Great deer steve!!! Forget the book,,,can I hunt your spots for $25.00 a day :D ???