#1 My very First Eight Point Buck. Very top Left hand corner in picture.
Well it’s cold as a witch’s heart outside and the snow is flying, and I am sitting in my trophy room just gathering a few memories off the walls. So it came to me that I thought I would share a few hunting memories about my (WOW)…aka.. Wall of Whitetails. You know people keep all kind of trophies when it comes to hunting, ahhhh but wall hangers, now that’s a different story. So my Wall of Whitetails may not be the biggest and the best of the breed, but every one has a special place burned into my subconscious memory. All I have to do is look at my wall, and poof… it seems like it was only yesterday that I was in that beautiful autumn woods, or took that very long shot, and finally marveled at the beautiful animal at me feet. So with 30 mounts or so in my trophy room, it’s starting to push the limits of space that I have left. So it is only fitting that I dedicated a good size portion of my wall to the animal that I have chased over hill and dale for the past 44 years, the one and only… skittish, majestic, beautiful Whitetail Deer. No other animal in North America drives so many hunters to the game fields each year, in hope of taking one of these beautiful animals to fill his tag.
So if you’re reading this you are either a family member or a very close friend. Approximately four of my hunting stories have been published, but not to a great extent. So relax a bit, kick your shoes off and pour yourself a nice glass of wine, and come with me while I turn back the hands of time and tell you about My FIRST Eight Point Buck to make my WOW.
It’s December 2, 1985 and it’s the first day of the PA Hunting Season. The day dawned bright and cold and the boys were hunting one of our favorite spots, the game lands behind Hemlock Farms. We always rented out Levantis’s Summer house for the week and had a fantastic time. These are guys that I have been hunting small game and deer with since I was about 12 years old. There was dead eye brother Johnny, my sure shot cousin Frankie, our great cook and close friend Tony D, the jokester Peanuts, the die hard hunting machine future Dr. Lou my nephew.
I look back on those times at hunting camp and dream of all the good times we had, the friendships we shared, and sadly realize that it will never happen again in my life time. Tony D. one of our members has passed on and is now enjoying the great hunting fields in the sky. He left a huge hole in all our hearts. In my own way I tried to bring back some of the special feelings and the hunts with the boys. I bought a second home in the Poconos that adjoins 40,000 acres of state game lands. I had dreams of getting everybody back together. But alas it was not to be. Different schedules, time, and age with a multitude of other obstacles has taken its toll. So now I usually hunt the property all by myself, and scoring on some beautiful bucks to boot. But no matter where I hunt, at home or on this continent or the next, I just want these guys to know that they are ALWAYS, ALWAYS with me…..in my memory, heart and in my soul, climbing the next mountain, walking through that beautiful valley, or taking that final shot, you guys are with me, fulfilling my personal passion as a hunter… May God Bless and remember us as hunters, as family, as friends….never to be forgotten…...
Now back to the First Eight Pointer. I am 33 years old, not really a baby per say, but the biggest PA buck I have shot so far is a scrawny four point and a few spikes!!! You see any Buck with one horn longer than 3 inches is fair game at this time in PA, so consequently not very many Bucks made it to the ripe old age of three or four. On this fine day it was decided that some of the boys would come in from the top road, and Louie and I would come in the bottom road of our hunting spot. In this way if anything kicked out between us the other guys would get a shot, not to mention that we were the youngest of the group so we usually got the honor of walking the farthest and helping drag out any unlucky buck that met his demise.
Well it worked like a charm, Louie and I were no more than a couple of hundred yards down the road when not one but three Bucks came bouncing across the old dirt road. As both of us raised our rifles we both fired almost simultaneously, bam, bam.. and guess what…we both missed! But as luck would have it I was shooting a Remington 760 Game master pump rifle, this is almost as fast as a semi automatic, and Lou had this four foot long bolt action Parker Hale rifle that was bigger than he was… bang.. my second shot echoed across the valley, just as Louie was getting ready to pull the trigger, and the lead buck instantly went head over heals. That was it… my whole hunting season was over in just 15 minutes…poof. My first beautiful 8 point buck had a very nice full basket rack, and I knew he would be my very first wall mount. After the boys gathered and congratulated me on my deer, they all went their separate ways to their stand. All except Lou… he was looking at my deer with this quizzical look on his face. He turned to me and said, ya know I can’t see any bullet holes in this deer….hmmmm he must of died of a heart attack… since I am shooting a 30-06 and you are shooting a 308, my gun is louder than yours so in reality it is my deer?? Yeah right Louie…LOL when I cleaned the deer he had a gaping hole inside his neck that you could of put your fist in where my second shot hit. I scooted Louie off to his deer stand and away he went. This was the beginning of the BEST hunting season the boys have ever had. Usually we got one or maybe two buck, but in this week, we shot 4 Buck. Louie shot a four pointer about two hours after me, and Brother Johnny also bagged a six point on the next day. Cousin Frankie also shot a buck the next day to round out the season. I still have all the pictures, and the memories, well they come easy, all I have to do is look at My FIRST EIGHT point buck on my Wall of Whitetails and remember when.
#2 My Monster 12 Point 191 Boone & Crocket Buck. Very bottom of picture Biggest rack!
Now we have to fast forward 20 years…. Yes sir, it took me that long before I could add another good Buck to my WOW. I decided from the beginning that I would only mount a decent eight point or better to my proud whitetail collection. The date is now November 19, 2005 and I am hunting in the coveted big buck state of Illinois. My nephew Louie talked me into going with him to hunt Trophy Whitetail with Rocky Branch Outfitters in Illinois. Now I must warn you that I wrote about this Monster Buck Before, he is MY BOONER BUCK. You see there is a scoring organization called Boone & Crocket, and they have a scoring system minimum to make the record book. It takes a big buck to score 165 points or better to make the book. My big boy scored a Gross score of 191 points. The chances are very high that I will never shoot a bigger deer in my lifetime.
After seeing the giant buck the night before I had made plans with Darrel the owner and our guide to hunt on the other side of the river in the morning, hoping to get a crack at the Booner Buck I saw the previous night. Chances were that he was long gone, and if he would reappear it would probably be in the later evening again. My nephew Louie and I talked it over and he talked me into going back into my original stand in the morning. If nothing happened there, I could cross the river and hunt the other side in the afternoon.
Again the day dawned crisp and cold, the suns rays were breaking just over the top of the field. I saw absolutely no deer what so ever since I got situated in my stand at about 5:45 AM. If I saw that Booner in the adjacent field this morning, after being talked into my original stand, I would shoot both Louie and Darrell…I kept scanning the far field where I saw the Booner the night before, I just made a laser check on the farthest knoll with the binos when in my view finder this giant buck appeared, I almost dropped the binos out of my hands. As I steadied my glass he turned around and stood at the top of the knoll, all I could see was a mess of a rack, a very heavy and very high rack, I immediately let go of the binos, my rifle was all ready set up like a rifle rest on my daypack on the frame of the tree stand, savvy experience you say… nawh just dumb luck. I found him in my scope, raised the cross hairs above his back and fired almost immediately. Again the shot was burned into my memory. What I didn’t count on was the massive cloud of smoke from my muzzleloader that obstructed my view of the shot; I didn’t see where my Booner went. I had a clear view to the right, and I know he didn’t go there. I also had a clear view to the left, open field, he sure as heck didn’t cross there, and that left only one choice straight back. Now I am really starting to get nervous, at a distance 165 yards, it was a long poke even for an inline muzzleloader.
At this point I took my time getting everything together to get down from my stand, I knew I was not coming back come hell or high water without finding my Booner, one way or the other. Two minutes after the shot Louie was on the walkie talkie asking me what I shot, he said the shot sounded like a cannon going off and knew immediately it was me. The shot I took was right at 165 yards on the money. I was shooting a Winchester X-150 inline muzzleloader with 130 grains of Hodgon Triple 7 pellets. My bullet was a 250 grain TC Shockwave with sabots. This load shoots about 2100 FPS from the muzzle and groups a hair over one inch at 100 yards; I was sighted in at 1.5 inches high @ 100 yards….. And yes that puts me about dead on at 150 yards…. I also knew that the Booner was standing directly in line with the first big tree next to the fire break, so it would be a simple matter of walking out to the field, lining myself up with the crooked tree and laser 165 yards back to my ladder stand. Bingo triangulate to exact spot I shot at my Booner.
Well that’s all good and fine, but when I found my exact spot I also found no blood, nada nothing, my spirits started to drop and I became worried. I replayed the shot over and over in my minds eye. It was a good shot, and it felt right, he had to be hit. There was about 40 yards of field directly behind the spot I shot and then it went in to the woods all the way to the river for about another 40 yards. I criss crossed the open field area for about an hour; the only logical place he could have run was straight back. At this point I walked about 100 yards up the hill and would zig zag my way back and fourth to the rivers edge and down to the opening of the field. As soon as I entered the woodlot at the top, a Doe was standing about 30 yards in, she saw me and was still looking back over her left shoulder. As soon as I started in again, she finally ran. Hmmm I wonder if my Booner was tending this Doe and she was reluctant to leave him. Well after my fourth zag I happened to turn my head to the left and saw the white underbelly of my Booner lying up against a side bank. As I walked closer and closer, I could see his head was partially obscured by a tree. As I made my way to the left and finally saw the rack a gasp came out of my mouth, I’m not sure but I think I did an Irish gig around the deer for a minute or two. The rack was not very wide, only 15 inches wide to be exact, but it had great mass, it also had 6 points on each side that were very thick high and wide. All I could think about is my God I shot a 12 point BOONER….
#3 & #4 Double Trouble Bucks. The two Bucks up in right hand corner of picture. At 2 -o-clock.
Now for the Third and Fourth addition of my Wall of Whitetails, and yes it’s just one short year later.
Well I found myself back in Illinois for 2006 chasing the monster whitetails that this state is noted for. After bagging a 190 class B&C twelve pointer last year, I knew it was going to be a hard act to follow, if not down right impossible. My hunting partner would be my nephew, that die hard hunting machine, the illustrious Dr. Captain Lou. What I didn’t know was that not once but twice, I would be bitten by Murphy and end up with an unexpected deer.
We were set up for an eight day hunt, known as the COMBO hunt. This entails eight full days of hunting. It breaks down to five days archery and three days Muzzle Loader. Let me tell you, if you don’t absolutely LOVE hunting, this is NOT the kind of hunting trip for you! We were up every day at 3:00 AM, we would be dressed, have a light breakfast of cereal or sweet rolls, and in the truck by 4:00 AM. That’s right….God 4:00 AM and delivered at our hunting spot and in our tree stands at the latest by 5:30 AM…everyday. Do you know how hard it is to sit still all day for 12 hours on a two foot by two foot platform? Now try doing that for eight days straight…J Man I got to tell you though, I saw some beautiful sunrise’s ands sunsets. I figure the good Lord only gives you so many of these and it helps to take a good look at them every now and then.
The first three days of the archery season we hunted a special place we nick named the Sanctuary. We have seen some monster bucks on this tract of land and knew that there was a world class six pointer that would score over 160 B&C and few of his buddies in the 150 class range. But after three days of hard hunting in the Sanctuary I did not get a shot. At the end of the third day it started to rain big time. and we had a tremendous downpour that lasted until the next afternoon. It promptly flooded the creek around the Sanctuary, and when we normally hunted this spot we needed a row boat to get across a small creek. Well the water was so high that it was over 100 yards away from where we had the boat tied up; it was going to be at least two days before we would be able to get back in. Little did I know by that time I would have all ready taken my two bucks by then.
In the late afternoon of the fourth day of the hunt, we decided to go out hunting just for a couple of hours. It was still raining a bit but the urge to hunt was too strong to just sit around the camp. We were staying in a separate house across from the main lodge, thank god for small favors, because let’s just say there is not a lot of room for two hunters in one small room in the lodge. Besides Captain Lou and I, we were hunting with our good friends, a father and son deer hunting tag team by the name of Dennis & Matt. Dennis had this damn new hand held computer that showed the weather front moving out of the area, so with the latest weather report, from the newest gadget in the market, off we went in the wet wild blue yonder.
For this short trip Dennis and I would be hunting together in a food plot about 150 yards apart, and Louie and Matt were going up in climbers. Well Dennis and I reached the field where we would be hunting; I found my tree stand literally carved out inside this 25 foot hemlock tree. It was a ladder stand that had seen better days, and the tree was almost completely grown in around the stand. Now you got to remember it is still raining pretty hard and the wind is picking up. After I make my way into the stand, I tried to get settled in. It’s so tight that I can’t hook up my safety harness to the tree. I tried hooking up my tree umbrella but the rain was coming at me horizontally. I looked down and there is a puddle of water on the seat, so it means I will be standing for the next couple of hours. I thought to myself what the hell am I doing out here, I pulled out my cell phone and called Dennis who was in another tree stand down wind form me about 150 yards away. I said are we having fun yet, we have done some pretty stupid things in our time, but this takes the cake. He just laughed and said talk to you later.
Well the rain was smacking me in the face, I couldn’t sit down so I put my vest on the seat to try and soak up the water, that didn’t work either, my glasses had rain drops across them so I had to take them off. I think I laid them on my vest, not sure, but I never seen them again for the rest of my hunt. I think when I went to try and sit down on my water soaked vest they we there, but then it was in the way so I threw it to the bottom of the tree stand, yep the glasses went with the vest. Now as Murphy would have it my cell phone starts ringing, it’s Dennis, he’s telling me there is a nice Buck coming across the field just to my right, look as I may through the mist and rain I don’t see the buck. I call him back and say are you on drugs where do you see the buck, he says which way you are facing, I said north, he says then look left and poof there he is. I immediately go for my binos with the built in laser range finder, all I see is water dots. Ahhh but the laser on the binos is still working, I hit the button at the blurry image of the moving deer and it reads 49 yards, hmmm pretty far but the nice eight point is in a wide open field. The buck starts very slowly feeding quartering away from me, I pick up the laser binos again and now he is 52 yards and moving, I have been practicing all month with my new Mathews Switchback at 50 yards and have a 50 yard pin so I give it the shot. The shot feels good and the buck takes off to the edge of the field about twenty yards away with his tail down.
To make a long story short, he took the arrow just above his left hind quarter and it penetrated straight up into his body almost thirty inches, right up to the feathers, straight up into his heart and lungs. He dropped stone dead in less than thirty yards. He would be a great deer back in PA but only marginal for a trophy class whitetail in Illinois. It’s still the largest Whitetail I ever took with the bow, and at a lasered 58 yards, in the rain, and the mist, he will always be a trophy to me and will grace my trophy room in the future.
Now comes the second deer of my trip. As I said we couldn’t get back onto the Sanctuary because of the rain swollen creek. So our owner and guide decided to let us hunt a property call Buzzards Roost. This special property was never hunted in firearms season before, and we were warned it is a minimal 140 class B&C area or better.
It was the first day of the three day shotgun and muzzle loader season and I was put in a tree stand between two clover fields. I was in a 25 foot tree in the hedge row of the two fields, one to my front, and one to my back. Well let me tell what a procession of deer I saw the first day. I saw over 35 doe and fourteen different bucks. There were wide ones, thin ones, fat ones, skinny ones. There were high racks, low racks, broken racks and freaky racks. But none came close to the magic 140 class B&C or better I was allowed to shoot. I was literally exhausted from checking out so many deer, I couldn’t even move, I was afraid to move around to much because they were always all around me. I just knew I was going to see something special the next day.
The second day dawned crisp and cold at around 32 degrees. At daylight it started off with an eight point I called in with my new Buck Growl call from over 200 yards away. Then a hot doe came in the field followed by another decent eight pointer. Then a bigger buck dashed across mid field, man it was hopping and it wasn’t even 7:30 AM yet. Then it happened…. Out of the corner of my eye, way down to the left at about 200 yards away, I see this deer moving quickly to my right with his nose to the ground like a hound dog. And ohhhh yes I can see his rack with the naked eye. When I get the binos up he literally takes my breath away, he is high, big and wide, with very long G1 & G2’s and if I am not mistaken, it looks like a drop time on his left hand side. All of a sudden a hot doe comes dashing by, the obvious desire of his attention, and he and she are off to the races. Now at the right hand corner of the field there is about a 50 yard opening, it looks like high sugar cane on either side of this opening. Here is where Mr. Booner decides to play hide and seek with his hot doe. They run in circles, he chases her over the edge between the cane, she comes back, he chases again. I watch this scenario for almost 45 minutes, the tension building more and more. I know I have to make a decision sooner or later, and if and when I am going to shoot.
I am using a new Savage ML-II using regular smokeless gunpowder. This baby shoots a 250 grain bullet at over 2500 feet per second. I am sighted in 2.5 inches high at 100 yards that means my bullet will only drop three inches at 200 yards. Now I have to tell you, I have literally hundreds and hundreds of shots through this rifle the past year developing loads for an occasion such as this. I have a gun rest screwed into the tree with my rifle set up as solid as a bench, and I know I can make the shot. Wild thoughts run through my mind, and for a second I thought man…for the second year in a row, I am going to tag a Booner… yeah right.
The hot doe is about 30 yards in from of the massive buck, when all of a sudden he turns tail and disappears over the edge, where the hell did he go? He comes back into the field, starts towards the doe and again jumps back toward the edge, what the heck is he possibly doing, and again he’s gone. After ten minutes my heart begins to sink, thinking I blew my chance at such a magnificent buck, why didn’t I shoot when I had the chance. I lasered the range at just shy of 220 yards from my tree stand with an open shot. The doe starts walking away and I figure, man I blew it. I started getting that feeling deep in the pit of my stomach that I screwed up and waited to long, if he sticks his head out just one more time, I will take the shot. I have the rifle up and am scanning the open area one more time before the doe disappears, then all of a sudden I see the high rack coming out of the cane, he is moving fast into the field, I am on his shoulder, holding slightly high, as he hits the opening he stops briefly….I concentrate on his shoulder and squeeze the trigger…. BOOM…. He rears back on his hind legs and makes a mad dash right toward my tree stand and falls dead less than 100 yards away, as I come out of recoil I see another deer in the scope…. No… No…No…it can’t be… it’s the Booner…. I rub my eyes and look again…How could that possibly be… if the Booner is still there what buck did I shoot ?… you got it….it was the wrong buck. It was the nine point you see in my picture. You see when the Booner was disappearing over the edge he was chasing the nine point away from his doe, I never saw the other buck until he made his appearance in the field instead of the Booner. Every time I think of this incident I am haunted of the mistake that I made. Even though my nine pointer was a legal deer in Illinois, it was an inferior deer for the area I was hunting. I had a second chance to collect a magnificent Booner and blew it by being to anxious at the wrong moment. Not once but twice I got a surprise buck this year. Yeah old Murphy was having a field day at my expense.
Well I guess that’s why they call it hunting and not shooting. I will have both my bucks from this
year mounted. The first one, I couldn’t really get a good look at in the rain and mist without my glasses, but he still is the biggest buck I ever took with the bow and my longest bow shot ever. And the nine point to remind me every time I look at him, that I was to anxious and should have waited even longer to make sure it was Mr. Booner. Some lessons are hard to learn, and hopefully never repeated. Ahhh the adventures of a deer hunter.
#5 The Big PA Lake House Double Main Beam 9 point Buck. Directly to right, next to The Booner Buck.
You have to remember this land I am now hunting is the Lake House I bought in the Pocono Mountains hoping to get our old hunting group back together. Alas it never happened that way and I spend the hunting season by myself hunting the swamps and thickets of the great Northeast. I have over 40,000 acres of state game lands behind my house and most of the deer here die of old age before they get hunted out. At this stage of the game my grandsons are 11 & 9 years of age. I just hope they can spend time hunting with their Pop-Pop when the time comes.
Now we fast forward again in time. It is the late Flintlock Pa Muzzleloader Season January 2008. This season duplicates the 100 year old tradition of the Flintlock Rifle Muzzleloader. Not only do you only get one shot, but you have the trials and tribulations of putting powder in a flash pan and trying to ignite it with sparks from a stone flint, just like our ancestors did over 100 years ago. This is the season that separates the men from the boys sort of speak. It is usually very cold and there always seems to be piles of snow on the ground. It also is the season that the big bucks show up that I never see during the regular rifle season. Usually after the first few weeks of the regular rifle season ending, I will start to get glimpses of big Bucks late at night moving in the back yard. There was this really big boy that I really couldn’t study his rack but I knew that he had a wide and very thick head gear.
I decided to make a dedicated effort on taking this big boy and took the whole first week of the late Muzzle Loader season off. I hunted him from my Tree Stand. I hunted him from different spots on trails on the back 40 with my climbing stand. I set up outside the known bedrooms with my camo blind and still nothing. But on the end of the fourth straight day, I finally got a good look at him coming out of the swamp, and my heart jumped up in my throat. At about 75 yards through the brush, I saw him as he turned to face me… I saw IT. He had too many big beams on his left side of the rack. I didn’t know it at the time but he has a Double Main Beam! There was no way I was going to get a shot at him at this distance with my Flintlock so all I did was watch. He took an unknown trail that I never knew was there before. I made a vow that I would be near that trail the next night to see if he followed suit.
The next night I was situated on a high rock over looking the trail he used the night before coming out of the swamp. I spent the whole afternoon waiting and making sure the wind direction was right. Just as it was getting dark I caught movement almost behind me, as I turned I saw him sneaking away from me on a totally different trail with openings to the right and left. I raised my TC Hawken Flintlock and fired just as he turned almost broad side, it was a bit over 35 yards and I had a quartering away shot. I do believe the Flintlock Gods were smiling on me, when the smoke cleared he was down and out. The 350 grain Maxi Ball broke his back and ended it right then and there. He was a beautiful 9 point Buck that we estimated was about 7 years old. I had my taxidermist score him and he came up with just about 140 B&C points. That is outstanding for any PA whitetail buck. And actually the drag back to the house wasn’t so bad, there was a couple of inches of snow on the ground so the going was pretty easy, except for one thing. As I started dragging him after I field dressed him, his right antler popped off in my hand, geez what a shock. So I grabbed him by the lefy and gyess what, that popped off to!!! If I waited any longer to bag him he would of lost his horns, yes the GODS were still smiling on me. He is the BIGGEST PA whitetail I have taken in my lifetime so far, and hopefully not my last.
#6 The Grand Pappy Lake House Buck…Yep another nine pointer. Directly to the Left of the Booner Buck.
And yes it is the late Flintlock PA Muzzle loading Season again, just one year later. I do believe it is January 15th 2009. I have never seen a Big Buck as many times as this old fellow. Believe it or not, in the two weeks that followed, I missed him once, spooked him about three times, and saw him coming and going about 5 times, but he kept coming back. The weather was real nasty with temperatures in the teens and we had a snowstorm the week before and there was still about a foot of snow on the ground.
I do have a feeder out back of the Lake House and in the dead of winter the deer sure do appreciate it. I ran into the Grand Pappy Buck about two weeks after rifle season. When I did get a good look at him I noticed his skin was hanging pretty loosely around his neck and shoulders. He was still running around like crazy but I would think if the winter was going to be long and hard, it would probably be his last roundup. I made a promise to myself to hunt just him until the end of the season. He had a high, medium width rack, with just one brow tine. I did manage to get a few good pictures of him out back and I said to myself, you know what… this guy looks like he is kind of familiar. When I first bought the Lake House I thought it was a lot of fun to shoot videos of the different bucks coming and going to the feeder. I was looking through some of the earliest years and then I found what I was looking for. Here is our boy, with his single brow tine on video with the year being 2003 and he looks to be about a three year old with an impressive rack. Nawh that couldn’t be right, if he was three then that would put him at almost nine years old now in 2010? Where the heck has he been in the past five or six years, because I sure as hell didn’t see him around here much? I do believe when the big boys hit around three years of age up here they go completely nocturnal, and only come out under the cover of darkness. Ok so back to the hunt. I was coming in from my main tree stand at dusk, and as usually I stopped on the trail behind my house to see if anything is going on, sometimes I catch them smack dab in the middle of the walking trail. It was a little early but I was cold and hungry and in a hurry to get inside to one of my wife’s home made apple pies and fried chicken. As I looked left then right, there he was. He was walking down the trail about 75 yards away from me, not a care in the world. I got on one knee, settled down and calmly cocked the old Flintlock. I put the front sight a bit high and his shoulder and squeezed the shot off…puff Bang… and away he ran. The ground on the walking trail was like a skating rink frozen solid, so I slid on my butt to where I saw him last and looked very closely…nothing, nada, no hair, no blood, it was a complete miss. I scolded myself saying I should have waited; now I thought I will never see that old boy again, but I was wrong. He showed up time and time again, no pattern just out of the blue here comes Pappy.
This last encounter had to be luck, because I really wasn’t planning on staying out in the woods to long, it was freezing and in the low teens, never mind trying to shoot a frozen Flintlock. I was sitting on the big rock behind the house and was watching two trails that come out of the swamp. The distance isn’t that far and the Rock shields most my movements. First a big doe popped out at 30 yards, next who steps out right after her but Grand Pappy, it was so unexpected that this was one of the only times I rushed a shot. He was jittery and knew something wasn’t right. At the sound of the poof bang he was off to the races, I though holy cow don’t tell me I missed him again. I was watching him run, after about 50 yards when all of a sudden, he went to jump over a brush pile and went head over heals and hit the ground. I was stunned and happy all the same time, but now the problem was gutting him in the freezing late afternoon temps. I had to take off my coat, roll up my shirt sleeves in the almost 10 above zero degree temperature. I tried to work as fast as I could, but as soon as my hands left the warm blood they started to freeze, they were so cold and frozen I couldn’t even get my gloves back on my hands. Thank GOD I was only a couple of hundred yards away from the house. When I did drag him into the back yard, I couldn’t feel my hands and I could barely carry my rifle. I left him on the frozen earth and made my way into the house where I ran my hands under warm water for about 20 minutes, the pain was excruciating, I am sure that if I waited any longer I would have been frostbitten for sure.
I called my taxidermist Sean Lamparter and asked if he was in the area if he could pick up my buck for butchering. When Sean stopped we examined old Pappy closer. His whole head and partially down his neck was almost completely gray, and his skin looked to be about two sizes two big for him. He had a nice nine point rack that was probably on the down size compared to when he was in his prime a few years earlier. Sean talked me into having his teeth aged by the PA Game Commission and find out just exactly how old he really was. Well I did, Sean sent in the teeth and I got a plaque stating that Grand Pappy was a ripe 9 ½ years of age. I had Sean save his jawbone and I keep that and the plaque underneath his mount on a small table. Yepper old Grand Pappy is one unique PA whitetail…. And he is on MY very own WOW.
#7 My First Cross Bow Buck at the Lake House. Next to the Elk, directly to the left I picture.
Yes…again it is one year later, and yes again it is the PA January late hunting season of 2010. But something is going to be a little different this year to say the least. Instead of taking the old tried and true Flintlock Muzzleloader, I am going to step even further back in my hunting time continuum, and try Cross Bow Hunting. I have always been an avid bow hunter, but as time goes on, it just gets harder and harder to put in the practice and pull back and hold even the new compound bows. With a torn rotator cuff in one shoulder, and arthritis in the other, I would have tears in my eyes after a shooting session with only 10 or fifteen practice shots.
I must admit I really loved Bow hunting and have taken at least five nice deer with the bow and arrow. But there comes a time of physical awareness that you must find an easier way. Soooooo long story shot, I purchased a new Tenpoint Crossbow Turbo XLT about 5 months before hunting season. I started practicing in my back yard in Allentown and found the new crossbow to be deadly accurate and fast at different ranges. I had a pesty groundhog living in the back yard back near the edge of the fence that just loved to eat most of my wife’s flowers in the spring. I thought let me try and see how my new Cross Bow handles a 40 yard shot at this varmint. I was not disappointed, one shot one dead groundhog.
Again it is late season and snow on the ground. But this was an easy Buck as far as whitetails go. I was sitting in my main tree stand and it was getting dark fast, when out pops this very nice eight pointer. Like on a string he is coming right past my tree stand at less than 25 yards, when all of a sudden he just stops behind three big trees. Well I wait, and wait, and wait for him to step out, almost 10 minutes goes buy and he finally, really to my amazement he steps out in the clear. I didn’t hesitate for one second. One precise shot through the lungs and it’s off to the races. He takes off and I didn’t see him go down any time soon. It was getting dark very fast so I figure I would give him the night and not push him any farther, knowing there was about eight inches of snow on the ground and the temperature was going to hover with a low of 13 degrees. I really wasn’t that worried about finding him the next morning. Finding him all in one piece may be a different story with the coyotes prowling the wood lots now a days.
The hunting Gods were with me and the next morning broke clear and cold with an assortment of big fluffy white clouds and bright sunshine. Not less than ten minutes later I picked up his trail where I left off and found him less than 100 yards from where I initially shot him. Did I tell you that these new Cross bows are deadly fast and accurate? They make even a 50 yard shot an easy task on a stationary whitetail.
Well that about sums it up for my Wall of Whitetails so far. It’s now December 2011 rifle season, but I won’t be going out hunting until maybe Saturday when I take my grandson Christian out for a half day. I just hope that he and Brandon, my youngest grandson have some hunting blood running through their veins and will partake in this great hunting heritage of ours where their Grand pappy left off.
I still have more than a few years left in the field, and with GOD willing will be able to add a few more Whitetails to my wall that my Grandsons have shot. Until the next hunt… God willing and as always may GOD BLESS our HUNTERS HEART…. Hope to see you in the field.