A Bay State Legend Falls To A Well-Placed Arrow
|Rack Report Details
|Time of Year:
|December 2, 2015
|Essex County, Massachusetts
|Elite Synergy Bowhunting
Jon Petryk's hunt for this Bay State bruiser began when he gained a tip from a local who'd apparently seen a giant buck at the back of a field. Petryk was determined to find out if the giant was fact or fiction, so he spoke with a landowner near where the giant was allegedly spotted. Sure enough, the landowner had also seen a really big deer. Game on.
Petryk scouted the area and found a rub line and scrapes, then he created a mock scrape and monitored it with a trail camera.
Within two days, I captured a huge buck nosing a mature doe, Petryk said. I couldn't tell exactly what he was. I just knew he was big. I began getting pictures of him - usually at night with does - about every three days.
Inevitably, the large deer attracted multiple hunters. One hunter even posted a trail-camera image of the buck on a Facebook group page. Petryk contacted him and said he believed they were hunting the same buck. Surprisingly, the other hunter had captured the image a couple miles from where Petryk was hunting. With the rut happening, the bruiser was making his rounds.
With the buck traveling through his stand location every three to four days, Petryk hunted persistently. His break finally came the morning of December 2.
It was raining that morning, and the leaves were soft and quiet as I approached my stand, he said. I hunted my way to the stand and climbed up without spooking deer. Three does and twin eight pointers usually came through when I hunted the stand, but I didn't see them that morning. I only saw one doe. I was actually thinking about climbing down. I'd just texted my buddy, Glenn, to tell him I hadn't seen much, when I suddenly spotted a deer cruising along the hill. Its body appeared short, so I assumed it was a doe.
Petryk stood to gain a better visual of the approaching deer and soon noticed it was a shooter buck.
At the time, I didn't know it was my target buck, but I knew it was one I'd happily shoot, he remembered. I didn't look at the antlers again once I'd decided to shoot. He was moving at a fair clip; either someone had bumped him, or he was on a mission.
The buck's course brought him 15 yards from Petryk, perfectly broadside. The previous morning, a deer spotted Petryk in the stand, so he placed a large branch nearby to camouflage him and his stand better. That branch now obstructed the buck's vitals.
It seemed like he was behind the branch forever, but it was probably only a few seconds, Petryk recalled. He continued on and gave me a textbook opportunity at less than 10 yards. I shot him perfectly.
On impact, the buck mule-kicked and rolled, then returned to his feet and disappeared. The urban environment Petryk was hunting is a place where pushing wounded deer is detrimental.
People can be pretty picky toward hunters around here, so I backed out and gave the deer an hour to expire, even though I believed he was already dead, he said. Rain poured over the next hour. I didn't become too worried because the shot was ultra-close; plus, I saw exactly where my arrow hit. I knew he didn't go far.
Arriving back at the scene, Petryk found the rain had nearly washed away the blood trail, so he studied hoof prints in the dirt and soon spotted his prize on the hillside opposite his treestand. Approaching the 15-point buck was a surreal moment.
I spotted him right away through my binoculars, Petryk said. He only went maybe 50 yards. It was really exciting. I kind of spaced out for a while. Then, I began wondering how I'd get him out of the woods. I brought in one of my ice-fishing sleds, loaded him in, and hauled him out. It was a fairly straightforward ending to an exhilarating hunt.
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