TOM'S 1st POPE & YOUNG BUCK

February 2003
Eastport, NY

It was my first weekday of bow hunting, and it was also the start of a 10day planned hunting vacation, which I always plan for this time, besides other days.

It was Friday morning, and under 30 degrees as the sunrise began to peak above the horizon. Along with clouds and even a brief period of sleet, it made for a noisy start to the day. All of a sudden, it had become so still and tranquil, it was like someone turned a switch off. As I turned around, I spotted a real nice buck emerging from the thickets, and knew he was a shooter. I picked my spot way up in front of him (42 yards) and let it fly. The big buck immediately hit the ground screaming out loud. He then raised his head and dragged himself down the hill, all through the woods screaming the entire way until out of sight. I could not believe this buck got up!

I tracked this deer for 6.5 hours on Friday, which led me to a nearby swamp about a ¾ of a mile from where I originally hit him. I heard the buck moaning as I stood on the edge of the woods that bordered the swamp. I was physically exhausted so I decided to wait for my friend Jim to lend a hand, being that tomorrow was Saturday. We headed to the swamp where I had left him just 16 hours prior. We thought we would just have to locate him, and dress him out, but no sooner did we step into the swamp, the huge buck (Bigger then I thought) emerged and crashed through the swamp, exiting it on the opposite end. I could not believe how big he really was. We again found a great blood trail along with half the woods being dragged as he headed back to where he was originally hit. (1.5 miles now)

We jumped him 2 other times on Saturday before noon, but eventually lost blood near a county road. Jim had to return home, due to his son's soccer game. So upon reaching home, I could not except the idea that it was over, so I contacted a friend who furnished me with a telephone number of a dispatcher, who turned around and provided me with the correct number of a licensed deer tracker in my area. She agreed to meet me at 2 pm, and informed me that her dog needed at least 50 yards of fresh blood. I replied no problem; her beagle Hoover immediately took to the trail and crossed the road. He led us through yards, thickets and fields, eventually putting us next to a woodlot at the end of a field. Hoover seemed a little confused so I looked back to reflect on just how far this buck had taken us (over 2.5 miles), when all of a sudden, Lee yelled to me "There he is, Shoot him"

After running with the dog for a few hours, I blew the shot just over the top of him, Damm! Then the dog got loose, but fortunately his leash got hung up on a downed tree branch, as he was right on the bucks tail just before crossing a major highway. Lee explained that she really should not be pursuing live deer, but agreed to let the deer lye another night and maybe he would finally expire, being that he had lost so much blood, and also agreeing with me that this deer was hurt bad, and could not possibly go much further. Lee reiterated what a magnificent buck this was after he emerged from the end of the field, not 15-20 yards from us. We both knew he was a Pope & Young buck, and wanted to go after him.

The next day we ended up crossing a major highway, going over an elevated railroad tracks, and ended up in the thickest piece of woods that any of us had ever seen. After almost giving up, Lee asked that we stay back because she wanted to work Hoover alone because he wanted to go back to the same area. All of a sudden Hoover began to go crazy, and Lee yelled, "Knock an arrow and get over here". After running through these woods, Jimmy and I were cut up pretty bad, and I was bleeding badly on my face from the thorny vines. The buck jumped again, but only went about 20 yards and laid back down as Jimmy ran to the right to keep him between us all. Lee yelled to Jimmy, do you see him, he replied no. Lee informed Jimmy that the deer was between Jimmy and her and they were only 15 yards apart at this point, and Jimmy could still not see the deer.

Lee informed Jimmy to keep crawling towards her voice until he could see the buck and maybe get a shot. As he continued to crawl through the vines, the buck moved slightly, and finally presented me with a final shot to end this incredible adventure. It finally ended after 3 days, and over 3 miles. I had pursued this incredible animal for over 18 hours, along with the help of my friend's Jimmy, Lee and Hoover. Jimmy shouted, Tommy you got some buck, "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 points" and a perfect rack, what a buck. He weighed 170 pounds putting his live weight at about 220-230, and has a 21- 5/8" inside spread with long G'2s and G'3s. I will have the deer officially scored by the end of January, but he should score between 143 & 153. None of us will ever forget this incredible experience. (note: the deer officially had a gross Pope & Young score of 144-4 and net score of 141-4)