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Outdoor Journal: Persistent hunter gets his buck

Thursday, November 21, 2013
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Persistence paid off for Saratoga Springs whitetail hunter Dave Rooney, who hunted the hill country of northern Saratoga County in all kinds of weather. Last week, at about 7:30 p.m., he pulled into my driveway with his buck.

When I turned on the porch light, I could easily figure out some of what happened and where he got the deer. He was smiling and covered with dried mud from head to toe.

He was up on top of a mountain, sitting on the edge of a swamp, as he usually does, but the wind was not cooperating because it kept changing direction. He still believes the deer had to smell him, but kept coming. Dave said he thought the buck scent he put out had a lot to do with his success.

When he saw the deer, it was moving cautiously through the trees and really didn’t offer a good shot.

Fearing the deer would soon smell him, he took the best shot he had, and at about 70 yards, his Remington 35 Whalen was on target, but not before the deer made it to a very thick swamp.

Getting it out required cold, wet feet, muddy clothing and the use of an Oregon saw, but I could tell from Dave’s smile, he didn’t mind a bit.

The 10-pointer, Dave’s first ever, tipped the scales at 140 pounds plus.

In the ladies’ first category, 17-year-old Heather Hunter of Galway collected a backyard buck, her first, on opening day of the muzzle

loading season while hunting with her dad, Ed.

They were sitting when Heather caught a glimpse of the deer slowly moving through the brush. Her dad coached her to move very slowly

to get the gun in shooting pos­ition.

Several times, she had to sit perfectly still when the deer looked at her, but finally, she sighted in and squeezed the trigger of her Remington 50-caliber muzzleloader and watched the deer disappear into the thickets.

Heather’s five point did not go far, and her first deer is history.

The Beecroft farm in Schaght­icoke was once again good to bowhunter Adam Beecroft.

Since the bowhunting season began, Adam has spent a number of hours in his tree stand waiting for Mr. Big Buck, and finally settled on a big-bodied seven-pointer. He shot the buck at 40 yards with a Bow Tech compound bow, and it collapsed just 50 yards from the impact point.

It’s not often that an arrowed

whitetail drops right where it’s hit, but that’s exactly what Bob Schnebel’s doe did. One shot at 16 yards from the Johnstown man’s Matthew Z7 bow ended the hunt.

It was the first time it happened to him in his 53 years of bowhunting.

Good Guys Deer Camp

I’m writing this from my hunting camp in Allegany County, the day before the opening of the Southern Zone and looking forward to the morning. But the camp has already had a great bowhunting season, which isn’t unusual. Unfortunately, a bad shoulder ended my bowhunting career this year.

Here are just some of the deer taken since the Oct. 1 archery season began. A total of six were taken during the bowhunting season by Good Guy members.

Mike Eggleston of Glens Falls shot a doe and a coyote, both in one morning. Joe Eggleston of Glens Falls took a spikehorn at eight yards and filled a D Map doe permit. Jim McGarrah of Fort Edward shot a doe, Elias Carlton of Hudson Falls shot a spike, and Aaron Goodspeed of South Glens Falls and Jamie Guy of Glens Falls both filled D Map tags.

One first-time bowhunter, 12-year-old Hunter Allen of Andover had two days of hunting excitement. The first day, he was hunting from a ground blind with his dad, Sean, when they saw an eight-pointer moving through the edge of the woods.

Hunter was excited as the buck

moved slowly through the heavy cover, and his dad believes the young hunter got a bit too excited and took a shot that fell short. That evening, back at the cabin, Hunter learned an old hunting ritual for missing your first buck — the cutting of his shirttail.

The next morning, Hunter and his dad decided to set up in the same area, where they also watched a flock of turkeys roost the evening before. They set up well before sunup at what they thought was about 30 yards from where the birds roosted.

As the sun started to rise, the turkeys started to talk, and it wasn’t long before the fly-down began. Hunter needed no coaching, and at 40 yards, he dropped a plump turkey.

When he walked into the cabin, he had a smile from ear to ear.

Bring Back the Crossbow

Sure do wish New York state would survey all the state’s hunters and get their opinions on allowing crossbow hunting during our reg­ular bowhunting season. It

would be easy enough to add one question to hunting license applic­ations:

“Should crossbows be allowed for hunting big and small game in all seasons in New York state?” A simple “yes” or “no” will tell it all.

Let all hunters decide, then let the Department of Environmental Conservation act accordingly.

 
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