By Samuel Ramos
This is the first year I can remember in quite some time that we had snow for the New York rifle opener. This buck really tested my skills as a tracker. The snow was perfect on Tuesday November 27, 2018. I had parked about 1/4 mile from the stand of hemlock I had planed to hunt that day and sure enough there were fresh tracks when I arrived.
I had been following a really nice track when I cut a different one that was very fresh, maybe 2-3 hours old. This was to be my first encounter. I followed this large abnormal track, which I found out later why it was weird. I found a fresh scrap and rub as I moved deeper into the hemlock swamp where this track was headed. Soon I came to his bed, which he left very fast. I followed him for the next few hours and about 2 miles, he never stopped running. He won that day.
Friday the 28th I was late to the woods and planned on hunting a different spot. Knowing it was late, 8 am or so, I jumped back in to the spot I was on the 27th. This would be my second encounter. As soon as I made it to the hemlock I found the same unusual track as my prior visit to this spot. Fresh, and I mean fresh, it was nearing 9 a.m. and I was hot on the heals of a buck on a doe. I found them around 9:30 and got my first glimpse of the buck, I thought at the time it was a 8 point with small tines. He offered no shot as he pushed the hot doe deeper into the woods. I left his track and headed for his bedroom.
At this point it had started snowing and fresh tracks from the buck were everywhere. He was looping back on his track over and over again, and the doe was not with him, as far as I could tell. It was nearing noon and I found a small opening in the dog hair thick hemlock. I decided to stand in this opening hoping the buck would loop back, as he had been doing all morning. Sure enough around noon there he stood about 80 yards above me in the hemlock. I shot three times and landed one shot as he headed away from me. I was quick to pursue and couldn't believe my eyes when I found him. A broken rack 10 point, it was an incredible morning. He was an incredible looking 9-point. Later upon inspection of his front hoof I discovered it was broken and left the distinct track I was able to find two days after my first tracking of this buck.
Sam took this buck in Greene county, Town of Jewett, NY on the morning of November 28, 2018 with 308.
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