MADISON (WKOW)-- Wisconsin's nine day gun deer hunting season wrapped up on Sunday, with thousands of hunters headed out.
It's unlikely many of them had as memorable a weekend as Roger Saalsaa's.
"He's just a beautiful buck. Maybe he was too pretty to shoot," Saalsaa said while looking at the buck he took on Saturday.
At 240lbs., the nine-point buck the 78-year-old Saalsaa bagged was something he never dreamed he would get to see.
"This is the first time(hunting) in 30 years," Saalsaa explains.
Early in life, hunting was among his favorite past times as he spent many seasons tracking trophy bucks in Wyoming. Since the, life has gotten a little complicated. The yearly harvest got a little tougher to manage and the health of his family required his attention.
"I got a son that's crippled and it's a really bad disease that's been in our family for four generations. And it happened to come out in mine," Saalsaa says.
His son and two of his other children have a rare muscular disease called myotonic dystrophy. The disease wears down your muscles until they're practically useless.
"He can't hardly shoot but he just loves deer, just loves it. His mom said I had to take him out," Saalsaa explains.
Just before noon on Saturday Saalsaa finally found what he was looking for.
"I was supposed to have that deer," Saalsaa says as he put his hand on his trophy deer.
"I couldn't believe how old that deer was. It's not something you see everyday with the mass on that. I could barely fit the tag around the base of the antlers on it," says registration official Adam Stamm.
It was the fifth deer dropped off Sunday morning at the Dorn Hardware registration site. Officials say they've seen a significant increase in harvested deer this year.
"They say it was up 13% this year and I actually have noticed a major difference than the last couple years," Stamm explains.
Even though Stamm has seen hundreds of bucks over the years, he's never seen one that meant so much to the hunter. It brought tears to a hunter's eyes after 30 years of waiting.
"It was a wonderful experience. I never thought I'd get a buck like this," Saalsaa says.
Many other hunters also had a successful season. The Department of Natural Resources estimates a 27% increase in the number of harvested bucks.
License sales also saw an increase of 2% over last year, with 614,435 gun deer licenses this season.
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