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Alexandria's Gordie Rachel posed with the 17-point buck he shot near Alexandria. He bagged the deer with a .44 magnum Smith and Wesson pistol around 7 a.m. on November 8. (Eric Morken, Echo Press)

Buck of a lifetime: 72-year-old Alexandria man takes home 17-point buck

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It took Alexandria's Gordie Rachel more than 50 years to bag his buck of a lifetime.

Rachel has been deer hunting since he was 16 years old and has shot plenty of big bucks through the years. This year though, at 72, he took one that trumps them all.

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Rachel was hunting with a friend on private land near Alexandria on November 8 when the big buck appeared a little after 7 a.m. The long-time hunter readied his .44 magnum Smith and Wesson pistol and fired, dropping him almost in his tracks.

"All of a sudden he was standing there with his head side ways," Rachel said. "I got a little nervous, but I figured I better catch him before he leaves the woods."

Rachel knew he was big when he first saw him but did not know the extent of it until he examined him. The buck had 17 countable points. Craig Krafthefer of Craig's Taxidermy in Alexandria scored the deer the following morning. It grossed 195 5/8 on the Boone and Crockett scale, with a net of 178 7/8.

Rachel had hunted Saturday and Sunday of Minnesota's opening weekend and saw five deer one night but never took a shot because of low light. His patience paid off on Monday morning. Rachel said it was his sixth or seventh deer he has shot since he started hunting with a pistol four years ago. He has taken some nice bucks in his life, but nothing has come close to this.

"It was fun," he said. "I've shot several big ones, but no, not close to this one. Ten pointers, 12 pointers, but this one takes the cake."

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