By Bob Dillabough
MY son, Ryan, moved back home this year after nine years living in Florida. Fishing the ocean, but missing home and whitetail hunting. He was out every day of bow season this year hunting, putting up stands all around Brewerton and Skaneateles State land in Onondaga county.
On Wednesday night, November 9, 2016, Ryan called me and asked me to hunt Frozen Ocean, this state land near Skaneateles with him and my nephew Ricky. They have seen a couple nice bucks there, but no shots.
In 2013 I took a nice 11-pointer out of a stand in Brewerton, NY and I told him I wanted to hunt that spot. His reply was, "You have not seen a lot of deer out there. I will give you my stand were I have seen two nice bucks." I told him, "Thanks, but I like my spot."
On Thursday morning went to my stand thirty minutes before day light. I put out a little doe stink and got in the stand. About 7:30 a.m. I worked my grunt and rattled a little bit. At 8:10 I saw a good sized deer pass me about 80 yards away, but could not see its head. I had that feeling that it was a buck so I got out my doe bleat. After hitting the bleat a few times I waited. At 9:15 a six point walked out at 40 yards. I drew my bow and hit a branch as I was drawing. The buck stopped and I shot... I knew I hit him. I watched him to see where he was headed.
A few minutes later I called my nephew Ricky and told him I shot a pretty nice buck and he asked how long ago I shot my buck. I told him about 9:15. He Laughed and told me my son Ryan just shot an 8 pointer at 9:00 out of the stand he wanted to put me in. I then called my brother Rick and told him I shot this buck and asked if he would help me track him down.
I sat in my stand about an hour before Rick got out there. We found a good blood trail through some of the thickest stuff on the land. The buck kept on going then the blood faded to just a couple drops here and there. We lost the trail after a couple of hours.
Rick said we should spread out a little bit and walk one end to the other until we find him. I was going to call this guy with a tracking dog. Rick said, "We have a good dog... your son Ryan. He will find him when he gets back from Frozen Ocean." We marked the end of the blood trail and waited for Ryan and Ricky to get back with Ryan's buck.
Forty-five minutes later I took Ryan to the blood trail and we followed it to a field. We looked in a circle around the field with no luck until Ryan found a spot of blood and a broken branch... my "dog" was back on the move. I told my son I was going to Ricks to get a drink of water and drop off my back pack, it was getting warm and I was not feeling good about this. Ryan told me to go ahead, he was going to check out a patch of thick woods. He thought it looked like the buck was headed that way.
Before I got half way out of the woods I heard Ryan yelling, "Dad... I got him! I got the buck!" Needless to say it turned out to be a good day and a great year. It is so good to have my son hunting with me and funny that we both harvest a buck 15 minutes apart in Onondaga county but 45 minutes away from one another. Its nice to see your kids learn to love hunting and fishing the way you do, plus I don't have to drag my deer any more. My brother Rick says, "Bob, we are blessed to have this life." and this is true. Glad Ryan is home. Oh Yeah I still showed him up a little bite as you can see in the photo.
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