The Lawler Buck

by Eric Lawler

An unexpected buck coming from an unexpected place at an unexpected time has made for one of the best Christmas presents I have ever had. On Christmas Eve in Westchester County, New York, I was able to harvest a buck that first showed up in a trail camera photo on November 20th of 2010. I believe that this deer was of the highest caliber that I have had the opportunity to hunt in New York State. The actual trail camera picture however, was out of focus making it hard to estimate how big the deer actually was. Week after week I waited for another picture. The wait was made even more excruciating every time I passed up a 100+ inch buck. My only reprise was the hope that the next time my mystery buck came into view; it would be in the middle of my sight instead of on a trail camera. It wasn't until almost a month later, on December 17th, that I got what I was looking for. Since then, the deer was regularly photographed however; his appearances were continually after shooting light in this "bow-only" county.

After hunting on the morning of December 24th without seeing any deer, I decided to take a look at what the trail camera had captured since I hadn?t checked it in over a week. What I found made my heart stop! There was a picture of my buck walking on a trail barely 15-yards from my stand
on December 23rd at 7:38 am. This sparked my motivation making me believe that I actually had a chance of harvesting this deer.

The property that I have been hunting is not the typical 1,000+ acre farm but rather a 10-acre residential lot centered in a small suburban town in Westchester County. Even though most of the property is surrounded by houses and a county road, it still shares a boundary with a nature preserve which is where a majority of the deer that enter the property come from. These deer frequently visit this property for the abundance of mature oak trees that produce acorns, the main source of food, for these deprived deer.

After what seemed like endless hours of sitting in a tree stand this season, this New York buck finally made his way within 15-yards of my tree stand. Straining to hear over the busy county road barely 100 yards to my west, I heard the determined walk of a buck and spotted him making his way between the narrow strip of woods that separated this property from its neighbor. The buck then crossed the driveway and made his way toward my stand presenting me with a 15-yard broadside shot. Luck was on my side this Christmas Eve and after the buck gave me this easy and clean shot, he ran less than 60-yards before laying down just next to the driveway for an easy drag out!

Thanks for reading!


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