2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

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Octoberjohn
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2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

Postby Octoberjohn » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:11 pm

My 2017 quest began in August when I first laid eyes on a great looking buck from a distance right at last light while out glassing a few fields one evening. I saw a handful of bucks that evening but the last one to enter the field(and furthest away) got me really excited. I could tell he was a big bodied buck and he was wide. I couldn't tell exactly what he had but it was nice to know there was a good one in the area. During the next month and a half before the season started I saw the buck one more time, again right at last light in the same field. I was running three cameras in the general vicinity but had not got anything worthwhile on it. So other than the two distant sightings I had nothing else to go on to try and hunt this buck.

The PA archery opener rolled around on September 30th and I was able to fill a doe tag about a half a mile from where I guessed this buck was living. A family vacation put my next trip out into the middle of October. I still had yet to get any pictures of anything other than small 1.5 or 2.5 yr old bucks so I wasn't even certain that this buck was still around. On October 17th I did a hang and hunt right on the corner of the field where I had seen this buck earlier in the summer. It was a great location and I knew this spot was one to keep an eye on. That evening I saw close to 20 deer but ha a couple of coyotes clear the field an hour before last light but I knew I had to hunt this spot again. I waited until we got a good front to come in and on October 25th I set up again on this corner. The deer piled out into the field a good distance away as the front had them up on their feet early. About 35 minutes before dark I heard a twig snap from the thicket right behind my stand and a small buck popped out. Right behind him was the big guy! I got a really good look at him and he was a main from 10 point, really wide and heavy! The small buck walked right under the stand but of course the big buck went the other direction. He hit the gas line about 100 yards to my east and was going the other way fast. I threw a grunt at him and he stopped. This eventually led to a 35 minute stare down where every time he started to walk away I would throw out a few more grunts. He would stop, come back my way a little, then repeat. Finally I got him turned and he was on his way! He got to 60 yards and was closing fast when he suddenly turned and looked up the gas line the other way. For reasons that I still don't understand he trotted back up into the thicket and was gone. He may have caught my wind but to this day I still don't know how he got me. This was easily the largest buck I have ever encountered here in PA! Here is a picture of him standing on the gas line right at 60 yards.
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I spent the rest of the archery season trying to do the right thing and hunted the ladies hoping they would draw him in. The rut was pretty much non-existent in my area so when the archery season closed on November 11th I hadn't had any other sightings of this buck. My brother had also been hunting in the area and he too did not have any encounters with him. I really didn't think I blew him out of the area but I just couldn't figure out where he had vanished too. Our gun season was to open up on November 27th and I had to work the opening day. So I had two heavy bedding thickets that I planned on sitting whenever I could get out again. The Friday before gun season I went out and pulled my last camera before the gun opener. I had this camera sitting on a scrape that really wasn't too far from where I had my encounter with him. My jaw dropped when I pulled the card as he had been there the second to last evening right after last light. So I knew he was still in the area and he had made it thru archery season unscathed! Here is the picture from November 10th. Disregard the year as my camera is an old one that won't let my put in the correct year.
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On Sunday the 26th, at 9pm I found out that I was able to get the night off of work. When I found that out my 10 year old son was excited so he decided he wanted to go too! I was thrilled just to get the opening morning off as it is a family tradition with my Dad, brother, myself and now my son all going every year. I had planned on hunting all year with the bow but since my son was going to come we took my old 30/30. He has a Mentored Youth tag so my plan was for him to be the shooter. With little to no time to prepare we decided to hunt the easiest stand that I have to set up in. I have a two man stand that I had set up for the two of us to hunt in during the archery season. It was actually the stand that I got my doe out of on the opening day of archery season. To give us a little more space I planned on taking my Lone wolf and hanging it on the same tree literally two feet above him.

Monday morning the 27th I woke up at 4:30AM and got everything ready for the two of us. We were on our way to the stand before 6AM. On the quick drive to our hunting area my son broke it to me that he didn't want to shoot the gun. So I told him not to worry about it as we were just going to have a fun morning on the stand. I honestly had no intentions of firing a shot. We were set up before daybreak and as the sky started to lighten up we had the first deer of the morning work its way thru. It was a small buck which never presented any type of shot opportunity. No more than 5 minutes later I fought movement out on the gas line to my north. When I pulled up the bino's I knew it was a good buck, but I had no idea which buck it was. I nudged my son and told him there was a good buck that might be heading our way. I tried to get him to take the gun but he said he was too nervous to shoot. I got a good look at it at one point and decided that if it offered a shot I was going to take it. The buck was with a couple of doe and he was just following behind them. All I could do was hope they would come up the thick transition edge between the oak flat we were on and the thick bedding behind us. Sure enough maybe 5 minutes passed and the first doe popped out right behind us, maybe 40 yards out. Soon the second doe popped out and they were heading right under the stand. Then I caught the buck, he was staying in the thick stuff! He popped into a small opening at about 30 yards and I took the shot! The buck hunched up and took off running right behind us! He was running on just three legs as his front right shoulder had taken the shot. As he went past I took another shot at him and he fell right into a big brush pile! Just as quickly as he had com in everything was quiet. My son and I both scanned the brush pile but I couldn't see any movement. I waited for about 5 minutes but then I couldn't take it anymore. I had my in stay put and I snuck down to see if he was down. As I rounded the brush pile I could see the rack sticking up!! I took a few steps closer and then I realized which buck I had just shot!! That is when I lost control. Every emotion that could hit me happened all at once! I went back and got my son but was physically a mess. I thought I was going to throw up at first, then I had to fight back some tears! Together we walked up and shared the largest buck of my life! What a thrill!! And to have my son right there with me was a moment that I'll never forget! This was the big 10 point that I had been chasing all fall! We honestly sat there admiring the buck for probably a half hour. Then I called my Dad and shared it with him! Then my son called my wife and told her that "Dad just shot the big buck, then her started crying, it was really funny!!!" It was truly magical morning!

Here is the buck! He is a mainframe 10 point, with a small kicker broke off between his G2 and G3 on the left side. He measures right at 140" with a 20" inside spread! The buck of lifetime! I have been hunting this same private property for 30 years. This is the largest buck that anyone has ever taken off of the property to my knowledge.
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Motivated
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Re: 2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

Postby Motivated » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:22 pm

Congratulations! What a beauty!
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence... We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit.
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headgear
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Re: 2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

Postby headgear » Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:27 pm

Great buck and story! Congrats
mainebowhunter
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Re: 2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

Postby mainebowhunter » Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:46 pm

You gotta love ground ground growth rather than ground shrinkage! Awesome
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Dewey
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Re: 2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

Postby Dewey » Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:56 pm

Great buck. Congrats. 8-)
P&YBuck1
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Re: 2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

Postby P&YBuck1 » Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:39 pm

WOW, what a dandy, congratulations!
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Lockdown
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Re: 2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

Postby Lockdown » Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:53 pm

Really enjoyed that story! What a buck. Congrats!
MikePerry
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Re: 2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

Postby MikePerry » Mon Dec 18, 2017 5:30 pm

Great buck and great story congratulations
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Ack
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Re: 2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

Postby Ack » Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:16 pm

Great looking buck....congratulations! :clap:
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SamPotter
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Re: 2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

Postby SamPotter » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:14 am

Congratulations on a great buck!
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DaveT1963
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Re: 2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

Postby DaveT1963 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:20 am

That is an outstanding buck for that area of the country - outstanding and well done!
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BradC36
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Re: 2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

Postby BradC36 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:06 am

Congratulations on a great buck and great story, one like that is a needle in a hay stack around here!
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Edcyclopedia
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Re: 2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

Postby Edcyclopedia » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:09 am

Spectacular! :clap:
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muddy
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Re: 2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

Postby muddy » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:17 am

congrats, great deer
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Jackson Marsh
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Re: 2017 Western PA - "Buck of a Lifetime"

Postby Jackson Marsh » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:33 am

Congrats on a dandy buck octoberjohn! :clap: :clap:


I bet your son will always remember that hunt. Well done.

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