photo of a deer killed by Steve DeRochephoto of a deer killed by Steve DeRochephoto of a deer killed by Steve DeRoche

Hunter: Steve DeRoche

Points: 13 (7L, 6R)

County: Putnam

Season: 2019-2020

Hunt Story

I had hunted the previous WMA hunt and heard grunting in the short pines. On the last day of the hunt, I hiked the edge of the pines and found large buck tracks. I selected a tree for the next managed hunt that was schedule in 3 weeks. On the first day of this hunt, I got to the tree well before daylight. Once settled, I decided to check in and called my wife who was on her way to work. While we were on the phone, it started to turn light, and I noticed the shadow of a large deer coming out of the hardwoods and going into the short pines. I told my wife I think I see a buck, I've got to go. I tossed the phone in the stand, and looked through the binoculars and saw the tall rack, however I was not able to count the points. I quickly decided to harvest this deer. As the deer was approaching the small pines, I had to take the shot at an odd angle, Due to this angle of the rifle, the scope came back and hit me between my eyes and the bridge of my nose. Now that I was seeing stars, I was unable to determine where the bullet impacted. The buck disappeared into the pines. I did feel good about the shot, and was encouraged that I saw no further movement. After cleaning up the blood on my face, I called the wife back and let her know that I had shot the deer. But had no details to share until I found him. Gave him 3 hours to expire. Climbed down the tree and went to the edge of the pines. Quickly found him 20 feet inside the pines - shot through the heart. (Yay) I looked at his rack and realized I had just shot a trophy buck. It was the biggest deer I have ever shot. The fun part was getting him out. I had to go back home to get the game cart. On the way, I went by the check station to see if I could gain permission to drive back to pick him up. Nope, not that lucky. (The game warden then assured me that I would appreciate the deer more having to drag him out the entire way. Still not so sure I agree with him.) Once I got back to him, I had 1 1/2 hours to "appreciate" him and drag him out. Big shout out to a couple other hunters (and JT) who helped pull the cart the last couple hundred yards and get him in the truck with me before I had a heart attack. Finally was able to get him to the check station where the party and high fives began. Called the wife and told her that I had a contender for the WMA wild card Truck-Buck contest. Next stop was the processor and the taxidermist to get this big boy mounted.
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