One of New York’s all time best.
Twenty-six days into New York’s 2009 bow season, Long Island attorney Bjorn Holubar found himself working at home with his favorite paralegal, a curvaceous, eager-to-please redhead named Ginger.
Bjorn and Ginger spend a lot of time together, perhaps too much, but she had nothing to do with the 42-year-old lawyer’s divorce awhile back. Hunting might’ve played a role in that, but not the Labrador retriever.
Actually, Ginger isn’t so much an assistant as she is a companion. Bjorn would have to shoot a legal brief in order for her to fetch it.
Around lunchtime that October day, Bjorn’s thoughts drifted to the hourglass he’d seen the previous night while surfing Google Earth. He’d wanted to see the property across the road from where he’d been hunting an impressive buck.
His father had taught him years ago the value of topographical maps. That knowledge and his appreciation for modern technology led him to www.earth.google.com.
“Google Earth is an unparalleled tool for deer hunting,” he said. “My Blackberry has a built-in GPS, too, and all I had to do was plug in the coordinates.”
What he saw on the web-generated map was a choke point in a wooded area crying out for a deer stand. What it didn’t show was the sea of clothes- and skin-snagging brambles he’d have to wade through to reach it.
Shortly after 1:00, Bjorn was knee-deep on his way, stand and bow in hand.
“I got pretty chewed up going in there,” he said.
As soon as he entered the woodlot, he was impressed by the buck sign and convinced he’d made the right decision — though the 155-inch buck he’d seen earlier during the season (the same one a trail camera had photographed in August) had been on the other side of the road.
Bjorn has permission to hunt several 10- to 20-acre parcels. The land is a patchwork quilt of subdivisions, woodlots, industry and strip malls.
When he reached the choke point and found a suitable tree, it was so thick with arrow-deflecting brush, he had to stomp down and break saplings to create a couple of shooting lanes. To disguise all the racket he was making, he pulled out and blew his grunt call, rattled a bit and even kicked up leaves.
“I didn’t desecrate the woods or anything,” he said. “I just cleared a 6-foot lane back to my tree.”
Bjorn was aloft in a red oak by 2:45 and continued grunting periodically, but he neither saw nor heard anything until about an hour before dark. He first spotted the lone deer’s brown body at about 80 yards. As it approached, it would stop and stare in his direction every five or 10 feet.
To keep the deer interested, Bjorn kept on grunting. Each time he did it, the buck responded by hooking whatever small bushes or saplings were within antlers’ reach.
“I was trying to antagonize it,” he said. “And I guess I did. That buck was so focused, it never looked anywhere else.”
This went on for more than 30 minutes.
Bjorn originally figured the deer for a 130- to 140-inch 8-pointer — a shooter worthy of one of his two tags, but nothing to blow off a blood pressure cuff.
“I have a lot of 8s on the wall already,” he said.
Even when the buck was within bow range, Bjorn still thought he was about to shoot an 8-pointer.
When the deer entered a clear lane, Bjorn stopped it with a whistle. He figured the target was at 35 yards and launched his arrow accordingly. At the smack of broadhead centering shoulder, the buck went down and plowed through the leaves for about 30 or 40 yards.
Only then did the bowhunter realize his first impression was wrong. The cowcatcher on that brown locomotive had a lot more than eight spokes!
Bjorn was fortunate. The 210-pound deer apparently ducked the string, because the seasoned bowhunter misjudged the distance. It was actually 43 yards, but the deer was so much bigger than the average whitetail in those parts, it LOOKED like 35.
There was really no need for Bjorn to sit back down and wait. The deer was done-for.
When he walked over to the deer and saw the strange configuration of antler that included an extra 20-inch-long beam and a forked drop tine, he was astonished. He took photos and sent them to his buddies via Blackberry.
“Never in a million years did I expect to get a deer like this,” he said.
While he was field-dressing the buck, five more deer came through there, two of them bucks.
The half-mile drag up and down hills he didn’t realize were there earlier was the most taxing Bjorn had ever attempted. He thought he was in great shape until that ordeal. So protective of his spot, however, he resisted the urge to call for reinforcements, at least until he reached the road.
Exhausted, he called one pal for assistance in loading the deer — revealing his location only after swearing the guy to secrecy.
Up until last season, Bjorn’s enthusiasm for hunting in New York was waning (though his ex-wife might disagree). Eight years ago, he went out in his sneakers because he forgot his boots. He wound up with a dozen chigger bites.
On another occasion, he wound up with 70 welts and an infected ankle. Yet another left him with 120, a knee infection and blood-stained linens that had to be trashed.
“One or two bites are acceptable,” he said. “A hundred-twenty wasn’t … I was done. DONE! I was absolutely destroyed.
“I still have the scars.”
Before the chigger incidents, he hunted hard. It wasn’t uncommon for him to hunt in the morning, go back to his vehicle and write a legal brief on his laptop, and then resume hunting for the rest of the afternoon.
Two hospital visits in two years tends to dampen one’s spirit. Hunting while covered in tick and chigger spray just isn’t the same — even if it doesn’t appear to affect the deer.
The only reasons Bjorn decided to step up his game in 2009 were the trail cam photo of the 155-incher (which, by the way, he shot in December) and a supportive girlfriend.
Hunter: Bjorn Holubar
BTR Official Score: 190 7/8
BTR Composite Score: 211 4/8
— Photo Courtesy of Bjorn Holubar
This article was published in the October 2010 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.
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