The Golden-Rod Buck

by Damian A. Silipo Jr.
(Binghamton N.Y. ( Broome Co.))

On Oct.23,2010 the day started out like any other early morning bow hunt with my hunting partner Scott and his son Jeff who was a first year bow hunter. At 8:40 am I called Scott on the cell and asked if he had seen anything at all moving, and his response was not even a chickadee. I told him to hold tight and I would put a still hunt drive on to him and Jeff. The drive went on to no availe.

As Scott and I walked toward Jeff's stand, I ask if they would go on a quick speed scout while I went and retrieved my possibles from my ground blind and I would meet them back at the truck.

I headed off and was almost back to the truck when I looked across the valley to the other side of the farm into the golden-rod and noticed something white sticking up in what should have been an all brown field. I pulled my binoculars out of my backpack and could not believe my eyes. There on the other mountian, laying in the golden-rod, was what I thought to be a 150 to 160 class buck. I quickly called Scott on the cell but there was no answer. I opened my backpack seat and sat down to watch the buck.

Scott and Jeff showed up 10 minutes later and I told them I was going to harvest a slammer in about 10 minutes. The two of them looked at the buck as we devised a plan of attack.

Scott and Jeff would take possions above the buck about 150 yards in the woods and I would still hunt toward the buck for a shot. If the buck broke before I could get off a shot I would crow call if he was headed toward Jeff, or give a hawk whistle if toward Scott.

The plan worked to perfection. I stalked to within 17 yards of the buck (which was now laying in the bottom of a diversion ditch )in my gillie suit. I was duck walking and upon spotting him came to full draw.

The wind was blowing enough to move all the golden-rod so I stood and was looking into the bucks eyes. I did a doe bleat with my voice for about 3 seconds and the buck stood at a perfect broad side position. It was too late, my arrow was already on it's way when he realized that something was wrong.

The arrow hit what I thought was right behind the front shoulder and burried up to the fletching. The buck bolted toward Scott and I gave my hawk whistle. The buck ran about 130 yards and as I watched thru my binoculars he turned and stopped broad side. Blood was pouring out of his right side and I thought he was going to drop right there. He turned and dissapeared into the woods.

I stood there collecting my thoughts for a minute and decided to move towards where I had last seen him. When I got to the spot I could
see Scott who motioned me forward.

When I got to Scott he told me he had taken a shot at the buck and had nocked a second arrow when he bolted toward his sons position. We slowly moved toward Jeff, but he never saw the buck. We followed the blood trail for 250 yards to a field where the buck crossed. The field was about 700 yards across and we lost the blood trail 3/4 of the way thru the field.

The buck had crossed onto another land owners property, so I went to get permission to continue the hunt. Scott had called his dad and brother-in-law to help in the tracking. Scott was in a swamp looking for sign while I checked along the dirt road.

I was headed toward Scott when he said he had found the trail. He was ready to come out of the woods when he was stepping across a swamp puddle and looked down to see a yellow leaf in the middle of the puddle with a single drop of blood in it.

Believe it or not, for the next 2 and 1/2 miles we followed the blood trail like following tracks in the snow. We came to a ridge and realized that we had come onto another land owners property. We followed the track a little further and decided to call the landowner to get permission to continue at 3:30pm. The land owner called me at dark and said we could continue the tracking, but asked that we not start until 10 am because a family member would be bow hunting in the am. I said we would wait until noon just to be safe.

Oct.24 couldn't come any sooner. I think I slept an hour. We started into the second swamp at noon and lost the blood trail 40 yards into it. It had rained overnite and now the trail was cold.

Matt, Jeff, Scott and myself decided to get 10 yards apart and move through the swamp looking for the buck. We had gotten about 45 yards into the swamp when I yelled that he was around a bush in front of me. I reached the rack only to find that it was a 120 class 8-point that had expired there the year before, my heart sank.

We made three passes through the swamp and were on our last pass when Scott noticed a lone apple tree on the edge of the swamp. As Matt and Scott commented about the tree, Matt asked what I would do if the buck was unedible. I told him that no matter what I would take him to the Binghamton Dick's sporting goods store to get him weighed.

Ten seconds later Matt said there he is. I asked if he was kidding but by the look on his face I knew he was telling the truth. Thank God the hunt was over.

The Golden-rod buck nets 150 3/8 , and field dressed 210lbs. I would like to thank Scott, Jeff, Paul, and Matt for there effort in helping retrieve the GOLDEN-ROD buck.

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