Andrew Arbes, a dedicated turkey hunter and contributor to The Management Minute, tags a huge trophy buck on his family farm!
Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 will be a day that I will never forget. The property that I hunt is a 68-acre piece of land that my family has owned since my great grandmother bought it in the earl 1900’s, located in Barton, NY. It is an old farmstead that lays atop the rolling hills of Upstate, NY. The land is covered by large fields and thick hardwoods, with a few planted pine stands.
I did not see any deer that morning except for 3 small doe. At about 12:05, I decided to follow the logging road up behind the house, and sit on a ridge, overlooking a big hollow that was covered by dense hardwoods and thick vegetation. There wasn’t a tree stand there so I positioned myself under a large hemlock tree. There were many large rubs and scrapes in the area, and I could tell that there was a big deer in the area. I just felt like something special was going to happen.
After I sat down, I began scanning for the woods for deer. I have always kept a set of rattling antlers and a grunt call in my backpack. I started rattling at about 12:40 p.m., and while I rattled I raked the leaves and blew on grunt call. I did this for a couple minutes and then sat quietly, scanning the woods for movement. After only a few short minutes, I saw some movement to my left. It was a deer! I could tell with my naked eye that it was big. I pulled up my binoculars and I started shaking. As I focused my lenses, he picked up his head. He was a monster!
From the moment I saw this deer, his hair was bristled on his back, his ears were pinned backwards, his nose was to the ground, and I could tell he was looking for a fight. While he walked his trail, he stopped to check all of his scrapes and rubs, and I knew he was going to follow the trail right up to me. Looking through my rifle scope. I was shaking so bad and breathing heavily, and he had disappeared behind a downed tree. When he popped out from behind the tree, he was 40 yards away and quartering away from me. I couldn’t wait any longer. I slowly pulled the trigger, and he took off. In that split second all I could think was, “Did I hit him?”
Within a few milliseconds I had loaded another shell into the chamber and I was back on him. I followed him in the scope, as he ran through the woods with a limp front leg. The buck ran for 20 yards and then stopped. He folded over and came crashing down. I had done it! I had killed my first big buck, and I couldn’t get my hands on his antlers fast enough. After I got to the buck I radioed to my Dad, and when he got to me he was in just as much disbelief as I was. He gave me a big hug and I knew he was proud.
It wasn’t until I got the buck hoisted up on the gambrel that it had finally sunk in. I had just had the hunt of a lifetime, and the buck of a lifetime had my tag on it. I was so happy to have been able to share the moment with my Dad, and the other guys at camp. My younger brother was even there to snap a few pictures, and to help dress my deer. Within 3 hours I had killed a monster buck, and had him back at the house, caped out and ready for the taxidermist. Something that I had waited 9 years to do.
Memories like these are what make me thankful for what I have. I am thankful that I have land to hunt on, and I am thankful for the people that I get to hunt with. I am grateful that my father, grandfather, and my uncles have instilled a passion for hunting, and have allowed me to carry on the tradition of deer hunting along with them. It is something that I hope to pass along to my children as well. I will never forget this day, or this hunt, as long as I live.