Hunter's patience pays off

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Hunter's patience pays off

By ROB STREETER. Albany Times-Union

November 28, 2002

Good things come to those who wait. Seriously, sometimes they really do.

Take the case of 29 year-old Aaron Tucker of Selkirk. The last afternoon of the Southern Zone archery season found Tucker in a tree stand, hunting a patch of woods along with his brothers Kirk and Mike.



Bowhunter Aaron Tucker of Selkirk recently bagged this huge buck on an outing with his brothers Kirk and Mike. COURTESY OF AARON TUCKER

The afternoon hunt took place in the Albany County town of New Scotland and although it was not within the archery-only area around Albany, it was in an area of relatively dense housing where gun hunting typically did not take place.

"Around 4 p.m., I heard my brother Mike take a shot," Tucker said. His brother had made a successful shot on a doe, filling his tag. The doe was in a group of four deer, the remaining three of which passed by Aaron.

"I could not get a shot at any of them because some slush dropped off of the tree on to my stand and made an odd noise, spooking the deer," Tucker said.

The afternoon's excitement did not end there, because Tucker made a successful shot on another doe that passed within 20 yards of his tree stand. 'I made a good shot on her, and she dropped within sight,' Tucker said.

Tucker was elated at having filled his antlerless deer tag during the bow season, but there still was some daylight left, and along with it, the chance for tagging a buck.

"My brother (Mike) came over to me, and I told him that I still wanted to hunt the rest of the afternoon," Tucker said. Aaron then noticed a doe, traveling with another deer. He could not get a good view of the second deer, but he did see white on the top of its head, indicating some sort of antlers.

"They passed by at 35 yards, but I could not get a good shot, so I passed," Tucker said.

Then something amazing happened. In what typically would have cost him his chance, Tucker's brothers came through the area dragging Mike's doe. The two deer noticed the activity, and changed their course, heading for Aaron's tree stand.

"They got to be about 15 yards away, and when his head went behind a tree, I drew my bow back and waited," Tucker said. When the buck was a mere 8 yards away he released the arrow.

The buck dropped within sight of Tucker's tree stand. "I knew he had a good rack when I shot, but when I got down and walked over to him I couldn't believe my eyes. ... I'm still in shock."

The buck had an incredible rack. The antlers were huge, with 14 points, good mass, and a good spread between the tines.

The next stop for the Tucker boys was New York state Big Buck Club scorer Skip Reilly's taxidermy shop. Reilly scored the buck at 173 points (gross) and 166 points (net) respectively, using the club's scoring system. The scores have to be validated after the mandatory drying period, but if they hold up, the buck will be a brand new, nontypical record for the archery category.

The buck will beat the current first place, nontypical buck by almost 20 points.

Tucker has taken a fair number of deer during his 15-year hunting career, but the closest thing to the big buck was a 7-pointer with a 10-inch inside spread. "You see the videos of people bagging huge bucks like this in Kansas and other states on television, but I am amazed that it happened to me," Tucker exclaimed.

While the buck will be mounted by Reilly, and will probably be scored using other scoring systems, the buck will not be able to be entered in the Pope and Young records, the record system for archery trophies.

"I shoot a 66 pound Bow-tech compound, which has 80 percent let-off," Tucker said. "That's the type of bow I like to shoot, and I was aware of the rule that Pope and Young has." The Pope and Young Club has limited the equipment archers can use, and will not recognize game animals taken with compound bows with more than 65 percent let-off.

The huge buck will have its place in the New York state Big Buck Club records, though, and will always have its place in the memories of the Tuckers.

So for all of you out there who are struggling this season, remember, stick it out until the end. After all, good things really do happen to those who wait.

Rob Streeter is an outdoors columnist for the Times Union. You can reach him at robertstreeter@sprintmail.com, or send items to 961 Stoner Trail Road, Fonda, NY 12068.
 


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