Today we’ve got a terrific story from Wired To Hunt reader Jason Ashe, as he recounts the tale of his wife’s incredible hunt for a New York state giant. Congratulations Jason and Laura on a great start to the season! – MK
By Jason Ashe
My wife Laura is not new to tracking and harvesting mature whitetails, as she has managed to shoot four Pope and Young bucks with her bow since 2010 and four firearms whitetails 130″+ on our New York farm.
The buck we appropriately named Wingman was always running with a another buck when he showed up on our trail cameras in the summer of 2012, and we believed him to be 3.5 that year. Since that point though, we very rarely had any day time photos or sightings of this particular buck until August 2014.
That said, it started for us this year in May 2014 trimming the tree we thought Wingman might walk by and hanging a trail camera 50 yards from that particular tree stand in hopes of capturing a glimpse of what he may look like this season. We never had to touch the tree stand or the trail camera all summer, so intrusion was non-existent around where we would be hunting this buck.
Our suspicions were correct when we captured a late summer daylight photo of the buck walking a trail that had been opened up leading to and from where we thought he may be bedded. The wheels began to turn and every day since we had captured the photo we would try and figure out where, when and how this buck would use the area we hunted him in. Aerial maps and two years of MRI played a huge part in identifying what made this buck an individual.
THE HUNT: October 6th started off as a normal early archery morning. Laura had taken her cousin Jennifer out for her first bowhunt to try and harvest her first whitetail with the bow and by 9:00 AM my phone was buzzing with photos of two happy hunters who had fulfilled a dream with a beautiful 8pt buck. With temps that day reaching nearly 65 degrees by midday my thoughts shifted to what the evening may hold for weather. Sure enough a micro front was sweeping across the Great Lakes that afternoon and was sure to bring rain and falling temps and no noticeable wind which is always a plus.
The 60 acre corn field which we were banking on holding Wingman in the area had been chopped off the face of the earth, as the local dairy farm needed it for feed silage. This was in our favor, as we believed it would relocate the buck to our little mouse trap that we had left untouched. As I headed out to hunt the bottom fields my mind spun with where he would be and that these were the conditions to get an early mature whitetail on his feet. Around 5:00 PM I had watched six does filter out to feed on what corn was left in the field from where we thought the buck might be calling home. Around 6:00 PM, almost 800 yards away, I caught a glimpse of that giant frame which we had been waiting to see and he was headed right to where Laura was hunting.
And then … my phone rang. My phone only rings when she has connected and sure enough she had thought she made a good shot on our number one hit-list buck.
We gave him some time and then took up the trail. Heavy pink blood meant she had hit her mark with a 30 yard shot on the buck, and nearly 200 yards had been covered before we recovered the magnificent whitetail. Elated, we hugged in the timber and marveled at the amazing rack, but even more amazing was the huge body. Dressing out at a pre-rut weight of 218 lbs and antlers in the mid 150s. We guessed him to be 5.5 years old. This was what bowhunting giant bucks is all about! Laura held it together, like she always does on mature bucks, and sealed the deal on this buck who’s legacy will live on in our household forever.