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A long time coming. Rollercoaster ride ends with a PA buck down.

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A long time coming. Rollercoaster ride ends with a PA buck down.

Old 10-22-2009, 03:09 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Cogan Station, PA
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Default A long time coming. Rollercoaster ride ends with a PA buck down.

This is a long one boys, so if you're after the pics, just scroll down

Some of you may know I've been on quite the drought buck-wise for several years. In fact, it was October 2002 when I last took an archery buck. That was my senior year in high school, and with only hunting occasional Saturdays through the next 4 yrs of college, I didn't have much success. The last two years I was out of school, I had much more time to hunt, and I was seeing more deer, and even passing on the occasional 1.5yr old, but in the end I had nothing to show for it but the occasional doe (don't get me wrong, I'm happy with anything, but this buck drought was killing me). I've questioned my abilities a lot over these past two years with not being to put anything good on the ground (well I still do ). Well, fortunately for me, that all was about to change on the evening of the 20th.

I saw we had a SW wind last evening, I decided to play it "safe" and sit in my usual doe-watch stand in the NE corner of my clover/rye plot. It was a great evening. The sun was shining, squirrels were hurrying about to stockpile nuts for the winter, there was a light breeze in the air - all of it made it feel like a true fall day.

I was sitting there checking my phone around 5:20 for the occasional text from Ben or Rob, and really only expecting a few regular doe to show up (I wanted to tag one this week for some meat in the freezer before the rut kicks in), when all of a sudden a caught a glimpse of something inside the edge of the woods on the opposite side of the plot. Like a ghost, a nice 8 point sneaked his way into the plot and began eating. Immediately my heart started to race (he was one of the bigger bucks I had ever seen on stand, and not only that, I wasn't expecting to see ANY bucks let alone one of this caliber). Well, right behind him comes an even bigger buck He appears to be a larger 8, but it doesn't matter, my heart is pounding like crazy. They fed for a little while, and all I could do is silently will them my way. Well sure enough, they did start to make their way to me, but this is where it gets a little strange. I became dead calm. No shakes, no heart racing, nothing. I was cool, calm, and collected (was I out of my mind)? The first (the "smaller" 8 worked his way to within what I thought was roughly 32yds (this miscalculation comes in to play in a second), but I passed. I don't know why. I wish I had an answer.

The first buck made a small scrape, licked a few branches, then moved on down a logging road out of the plot. The bigger "8" then repeated his buddies same pattern. For whatever reason, I decided if he came and did the same thing, I was taking the shot. Problem was, I needed to pivot myself in the ladder stand so I could make the shot left handed and not hit the tree behind me with my elbow. I slid into position, he stopped at the same bush, but quartering to slightly. I drew back, anchored solid, centered the peep, and even checked the bubble level (rarely can I remember doing this on any of the deer I've shot ). I put my 30yd pin behind the crease in the shoulder, and squeezed the shot off. I SWORE I saw my fletching disappear right where I was aiming. He took off tail between his legs, and I thought I heard a crash. Immediately the emotions came over me. I texted Ben/PA that I think I shot the biggest buck of my life, followed by another text of "maybe I missed...now I'm not sure." The reason for my second guessing was that while I was waiting in the stand I ranged the shot, and it was in fact 37yds . That's further than I want to shoot, but it was too late.

I backed out, when back to the truck, and called my dad. Oh, also, Ben called, and said he would meet me at my house if I wanted (more on that awesome offer later). We waited about 40 minutes and went to look at the shot site. ONE drop of blood, and an arrow covered in stomach matter. My heart immediately sunk How could of I botched shot I thought I saw go so well. My mind started racing. What if's and if only's circled in my brain. I was panicking. I was second guessing.

My dad and I decided to back out and wait a while. Meanwhile I called Ben/PA who gave the same advice on backing out, and he said he and Rob/PA would be up to look at the arrow and blood spot to decide what to do next. These guys drove up from Huntersville (it's ~35minutes away) at 8:30 at night NO QUESTIONS asked to help me out. Seriously, I can't thank these guys enough. So willing to help whenever they can (heck Ben was on the road ALL day, and then immediately came up after getting home). Seriously, I owe you guys big time.

In the meantime, I had to wait. I sat at home trying to keep myself busy, but I couldn't keep my mind off of it. I just kept second guessing myself, and I kept questioning the shot, and why did I take such a long shot, etc, etc. Finally, Ben and Rob got here, looked at the arrow and all agreed it was in the guts. We decided to go up to the shot site and look again, but not push into the woods. Once there, we couldn't find ANY blood anywhere. Ben found a small pile of stomach contents, but that was it. We determined it was best to back out and go after it in the morning. They reassured me it was a dead deer, and if not pushed, we would still be able to find it. As much as I appreciated the support, I had my doubts.

Needless to say I didn't sleep well at all. I tossed and turned, and replayed the shot over and over and over again. What did I do wrong? How could this perfect opportunity be blown?

Then came morning. I'm a rare type of teacher (Tech Ed), and it's very difficult to get subs for me. Needless to say, I had to be into work in the morning My dad, however, said he would cover the area all morning, and if it turned up nothing, he would bring in reinforcements (his retired hunting buddies of course). Love my dad. Always there to help whenever. No questions asked.

It was the LONGEST homeroom period of my life today watching my phone. I think if any kids asked me a question, I just nodded. My mind wasn't there. Then, around 9am, I saw I had a voicemail from my dad. He said he found him 150yds from where I shot. Not a SINGLE spot of blood ANYWHERE. Nothing. Notta.

Turns out I DID in fact hit him CLOSE to where I aimed. I took out his diaphragm, one lung, and then the arrow came out through part of the guts (he was slightly quartering to). He bled COMPLETELY internally. My dad said the chest cavity was FULL of blood.

Anyways, needless to say it was the LONGEST day of school ever. I texted the few people I have cell #s for a picture sent to me by my dad's friend during the drag out, and promised better pictures later. I felt TERRIBLE not being able to be there for the recovery, but I was able to butcher him tonight, so I felt at least like I did something

My dad took me along the trail this afternoon that he followed, and sure enough, all he had to go by were tracks in the dirt/leaves from where he ran. There was NO blood. Ever.

Anyways, thanks go out to Rob and Ben BIG TIME. These guys showed generosity most people don't have in them these days. To just drop what they're doing to come help me is just amazing. Thanks so much guys and I hope I can repay the favor in the future.

Ok, on to the pictures. Sorry there's no body pictures. The temps here were to hot, so my dad had to skin him before I got home. I tried my very best to get good respectable shots that I wanted. I'm sorry if the pictures aren't the very best, but like I said, I tried very hard. This is my biggest buck BY FAR, and I wanted great pictures. These aren't what I envisioned all these years, but I did what I could. The cape is in the freezer, and he will be heading to the taxi shortly.

Btw, we didn't weight him, but my dad estimated his live weight close to 200lbs, and about 170 field dressed (I will trust his judgment as he's shot PLENTY of PA whitetails, and we almost always weigh each one). I think he MIGHT be a 3.5, but not sure.

Lol, ALSO I suck at field judging a deer's size. I told Ben and Rob I thought he was about 120." Lol, not exactly 120, but I didn't put a tape on it. Probably tomorrow.

Anyways, such an awesome experience, I'm still pumped.

The entrance wound. I hit a little farther back than I thought, and just little low, but still not as far back as the sign might have indicated.

Last edited by MGH_PA; 10-22-2009 at 04:13 AM.
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Old 10-22-2009, 03:36 AM
Fork Horn
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Location: WV/OH
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That's an amazing story and a gorgeous buck. You should be very proud. The pictures turned out great, btw.

It's nice to have family and friends that are always willing to help. That's what its all about!
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:10 AM
Giant Nontypical
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awesome story and great pics!!! Congrats MGH!!! Nice work.
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:22 AM
Typical Buck
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Location: Northwest MS
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Nice buck, definitely a shooter in my book. Congratulations.
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:51 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: Southwest PA
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Congrats!!! Awesome story and buck.
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Old 10-22-2009, 05:28 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: Central Pennsylvania
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Congrats. That's a crazy story!!! I can't even imagine how hard it was to sleep that night!! That thing looks like its a 200 pounder I can't get over its body size jeeze!!!

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Old 10-22-2009, 05:30 AM
Typical Buck
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congrats on a great buck!
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Old 10-22-2009, 05:31 AM
Typical Buck
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 654

That's an awesome story. Job well done by everybody. The pic's came out fantastic. Congrats!! Matt. That buck monkey is off your back. I know your Dad was happier/prouder than you'll ever know to find this buck for you. It's what Dad's do.

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Old 10-22-2009, 05:34 AM
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Nice looking buck, congrats!
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Old 10-22-2009, 05:40 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: Southern Illinois
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That is a really great buck. Awesome story. I know how hard it must have been to not attempt to pick up the trail that night, but you did what you needed to do and you were awarded for it.

Also, it is so nice to have good hunting buddies and a great dad. I know that my buddies and my family are my best hunting tools.
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