The Wanamaker Buck
Sterling Forest 13-point

By Joan Wanamaker

Every fall and winter my husband hunts. First it’s bow, then it’s rifle, and finally it’s muzzle-loader. Each season brings it’s own challenges and it’s own experiences. There was one year where my husband got what he called the “trifecta”. He shot one deer by bow, one by rifle, and one by muzzle-loader. Some years are better than others and this year happens to be one of those years.

The day before my birthday my husband shot his first doe of the season with his bow. I called it my birthday deer. I was so excited! This doe would fill our freezer and feed us with fresh meat for the next year. My husband butchers his own deer and I label all the packages. Every year he always said he’d get me a deer for my birthday and this year he did!

Now it is rifle season 2017. Every year for rifle season my husband hunts in Sterling Forest State Park located in Orange County, NY (which you need a special permit for). He usually goes out with our one friend and they hunt together and have been for the past five years. Each year in Sterling Forest they leave empty handed, never seeing a deer, only seeing signs that they are in the area.  Well all that changed November 21, 2017.

I was at work when my husband and our friend headed out to hunt. Armed with his Savage Axis .243 with Redfield Revolution Scope and Winchester Super X bullets, my husband headed into the woods.  About two hours into my shift I get a text message from my husband saying, “Big Buck Down!” I immediately wrote him back saying, “You got a buck??”. He responded with, “13 point.” Immediately I was thinking that he had to be kidding... a 13-pointer? That’s huge and you never see those around here. I thought he was totally pulling my leg. But he wasn’t. He soon followed up his text message with a picture.

I was so proud of my husband! This was his first buck he’s ever shot, and it wasn’t just any buck... it was a monster! It took him and our friend a while to get him out of the woods. My husband told me he was still in shock. He still couldn’t believe what he got. Not even our friend could. My husband said that as he sat in the woods waiting for a deer to walk in, all of a sudden all he saw was this big white thing coming his way. Once he realized it was a deer he immediately took aim and shot.

When I got home from work at five my husband texted me that they were just leaving the woods, and were heading over to the local taxidermist. “Do you want us to pick you up?”, he asked.  Um... yes!!! There was no way I was being left out of this. I waited outside for the guys to pick me up, and once the car pulled into my complex, I saw the deer for the first time strapped to the cargo hitch on the back of our friend’s Toyota Rav 4. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! His rack was massive! This was definitely not just any ‘ol deer.

My husband had called ahead to the taxidermist, and when we got there he was excited to see what my husband had, but in no way was he prepared for what he saw. He has been a taxidermist in this area for over thirty years and told us he had never seen a buck this large. His taxidermist studio is in his parents house, so he immediately went inside to get his parents. He said they had to see this.  When they came outside they were in shock too.

Everyone is telling us, including the taxidermist and Sterling Forest, that this is definitely a record buck. Once the deer is mounted, we are planning on having him officially measured to see if he is in fact a record. My husband is still in shock. Every year after hunting in Sterling Forest and not seeing a single deer, my husband has told me he should just give up. I always told him no, that one day he was going to get something. And boy, did he get something!

To think, his first buck is a trophy! As everyone keeps telling him, not only is this his once in-a-lifetime buck, but he’s now also ruined for life. He will never see another buck like this one again. But, if anyone deserved to harvest him, it was definitely my husband!


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