The beetle man hates Josh Feldman, but at least one taxidermist near Alton, Illinois, could kiss him.
Had it not been for Josh’s shaming, Aaron Fry might’ve paid to have insects clean his 2017 buck’s skull so he could screw it to a plaque. But the cape and antlers are now with a taxidermist, soon to be Aaron’s first trophy with hair and glass eyes.
“I’ve never had the urge to mount a deer before,” the 31-year-old fireman said. “I’ve just had European jobs because I couldn’t justify the expense.
“I told Josh I was going to take this one to the beetle man, and he said I was crazy,” Aaron laughed.
Few deer hunters would disagree with Josh.
Aaron shot the Jersey County whitetail on Nov. 4. His wife gave him a free pass to hunt that day, a rarity last year because the family was in the process of moving, which had consumed almost all of his spare time.
He drove to the property after lunch that balmy Saturday, prepared to sweat. He hiked in for 15 or 20 minutes, and was sitting atop a 16-foot ladder stand by 2:30.
Almost immediately, Aaron began exchanging texts with his buddy, Josh.
“I sat there, I sat there, and I sat there, seeing nothing,” he said. “I eventually began studying a map of Alton’s streets and roads, which I have to know as a fireman.
“At 6:15 – this was before the time change – I put away my map. It was almost time to get down, and I was ready to call the day a bust,” he continued. “That’s when I looked up and saw this deer, the only one I saw that day, at 25 yards.
“Maybe 15 seconds after I saw it, I was looking at it through my peep sight. I didn’t even realize how big it was until it was running away with a hole in at least one lung,” he continued.
Josh was with him during the recovery.
The deer died with its head leaning against a tree to which a trail camera was strapped. Aaron was ecstatic over the thought of the trail camera photographing the deer as it fell, but the SD card malfunctioned.
The deer’s BTR score is 205 1/8 inches.
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