Outdoors Unlimited: Best Friends & Big Bucks - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Outdoors Unlimited: Best Friends & Big Bucks

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NEW LISBON, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- According to the DNR, hunters harvested nearly 244-thousand deer during the 2012 Wisconsin's nine-day gun season.

That number is up 7.7 percent from 2010.

Of the total, 114-800 were bucks.

Thad Barnes and Mike Hayes are the best of friends.

Both are 19, grew up out on the farm, are neighbors and spend hundreds of hours each year out in the woods.

"I met Mike when I was five or six years old. So, I have known him for 15 years. It seems like Mike and I always got to be tagging along together. It has always been a great time. I would come up here and we would always go down in the woods or go fishing and just a couple of years ago I was able to start hunting up here," said Thad Barnes.

"My dad would take me out when I was younger and I was really good friends with Thad and got to know him and said we should go turkey hunting sometime and it has turned into something pretty special that we enjoy doing together it seems like when we are together we always succeed or if we are near we are always shooting turkeys or deer," said Mike Hayes.

"The Hayes family is such a nice family to hangout with. The whole family is good friends with each other. They take you in and treat you like you are part of the family. It is a really great thing to have," said Barnes.

Throughout the years, these two have also bonded over big bucks.

Their is12 bucks in the past 6 years.

On opening day, Thad harvested a ten point that scored 160 and had an inside spread of 18 inches.

While Thad started the season off with a bang-- Mike closed the season that way.

Mike had an 8 point buck with a16 1/2 inch spread cross his path at about 9:15 a.m. on the final day of the season.

This Mike's ninth buck to score over 130.

These two keep track.

"Yeah, we have to have a friendly competition is seems, but he is whooping my butt so I am slowing catching him," said Barnes.

"Thad is averaging a really good score. His first was a 160, his second was a 140 and now he bagged another 160 so he has me beat in the average category, but I have killed some nice bucks. I add 9 to the total he adds three. It is pretty special though, " said Hayes.

Hayes adds, "yes, we do kill a lot of bucks, but we never take one for granted. Treat every buck that you kill like it could be your last."

They are hunters today, but will be friends forever with memories that will last a lifetime.

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