My father (Paul M. Fibraio) is 74. He started hunting as teenager. Stopped for many years. Got me into hunting as a teenager, but stopped again after I went away to college. Once back from college with a fiancé, marriage, house, baby & new job hunting for a while wasn’t a possibility for me sadly.
About 15 years ago I got the itch to get back into it and we did. Over this time my father has become a Doe killing machine. He has had ZERO luck though with bucks. While hunting they are out of bow range during bow season and never in shooting range during gun season or just never seen by him while hunting.
Well the last few years it has been a running joke between family and friends that Pop is doomed to not hold horns. We would put him in stands we are getting buck on camera and nothing would show.
The last few season I did everything I could to make it happen to no avail. This year in a property we have in Zone 12 we had a stand that had 3 nice bucks showing up like clockwork on camera every day.
So opening weekend of Bow I got Pop in the stand. At last light a big boy came in. My father took the shot, clipped a branch and it deflected the bolt then hit the buck. We found blood, tracked it for hours that night. Then hours the next day, even talked to a dog tracker and we figured collectively it wasn’t a lethal shot.
The next week a friend of mine Eric (IthicaDS3 here in NJWW) went out to the same property with my dad. In a selfless act my dad told Eric to take that stand and he went to a pop up we have on the property. Eric had a big deer step out at the same stand my father was at the week before, he took a shot and gave it a hair cut. Pop only saw 2 deer and had no shots that sit.
Last weekend we get back out to that property. I didn’t want to hunt it 3 weekend in a row but the camera pics and the right winds had me push it a bit. I wanted my dad to get back in that stand. Again he said nope, I had my shot, you take it it’s your turn I will take the other stand. So I get him up in his stand and went to the stand he was in 2 weeks prior and Eric was in the week before.
At 6:24pm I get a text from him, “I shot a buck”. I was stunned we were getting zero bucks on camera on that side of the property and it was nothing but does on camera. I told him sit tight I will get to you after legal shooting time. Longest 40-50 min of my life lol. I saw 1 deer but nothing came in shooting distance.
So I get down and I get to him, help him get down and we go to the bolt and there isn’t much blood on it. He was instantly bummed out. He showed me which way the deer went and I start looking for blood. Blood found!! Then more. Then I didn’t even need a flashlight and we were on the trail or should I say river. We tracked the deer about 60-80 yards and there in the brush he was piled up and he was a big! As I approached I saw what buck it was it was. It was a buck we called dimples for the one small tine on the right side. He is/was the biggest bodied deer we have on the property.
I pulled the buck out of the brush for him and as the deer rolled over there at the top of his back was a wound that was healing. This is the same deer my dad shot 2 weeks prior! I couldn’t believe it as we had no pics of him in this area of the property. We even have pics of him last year, but after the velvet came off he disappeared. Later after looking at cam pics we realized it was also the deer Eric shot at and gave a hair cut. He is an 8 pointer, 5x3 and was a thick bodied deer with a big old neck.
It took my dad 74 years to finally hold horns, but oh was it worth it. The story and being there to experience it with him is one I will never forget and tell for ages to come. My Dad, Eric and I all have a story and relationship with this deer for different reasons and in different ways and it was just an amazing event and start to another great season hunting with family and friends.
Congrats Pop on a great story and for putting a great shot on a really nice buck. Can’t wait to see the great job Jersey Jay does with your very first buck!!!