You can take the man out of the hunt, but not the hunt out of the man.
An Ohio real estate agent learned last year that the best way to hit a curve ball is to go out swinging.
After severely injuring his hand and ulnar nerve during a bowhunting trip to Arizona early in 2011, Matt Sheterom thought he’d be sidelined for the rest of the season, at best. He feared he might never again be able to hunt with a bow.
But that was before he struck up a conversation with a fellow vacationer, also from Ohio, in the Dominican Republic. Their idle hunting chat resulted in his becoming fast friends with Steve Esker.
“When I told Steve that I couldn’t hold a compound bow any longer and might have to forego the upcoming hunting season, he told me of all the shoulder issues he suffers and how he now hunts with a crossbow,” Matt said.
“We became fast friends, and he offered to help me in any way he could.”
When Matt returned to Ohio, his grip worsened. A neuro surgeon told him the knife was required.
“The doctor also advised me that I would not be able to bowhunt for at least the upcoming season,” he said. “I was very frustrated because I had this new 100-acre property that held great potential.
“My surgery was Oct. 6. From that point on, I was pretty much grounded from hunting. I talked to Steve about what was happening, and he told me he had a spare crossbow that he would lend me if I wanted to try it.
“I had known Steve for only a few months. That he would do this for me was incredible,” Matt added.
The doctor gave the okay, as long as Matt waited another three weeks.
“Steve showed me all there was to know, and I spent quite a bit of time learning to cock, aim and shoot it,” Matt said. “My next hurdle was in climbing. I couldn’t do it.”
Another friend, Jeff Baker, helped Matt set up and brush-in a blind on scaffolding underneath the treestand he’d wanted to use. To hunt that spot, he couldn’t sit on the ground.
“This property is an island of trees within open fields surrounded by subdivisions near Columbus, Ohio. My trail cameras had captured thousands of pictures of deer, including several very nice bucks and lots of people,” he said.
“The human traffic didn’t seem to bother the whitetails. I had pictures of people passing the camera and, 15 minutes later, one or more deer ambling past,” Matt added.
The wind was right to hunt from the new blind on Nov. 2. Matt decided to go there about noon, after calling his wife, Amanda, and Jeff.
“I had no trouble getting into the blind,” he said. “Within five minutes, I heard voices and saw two young girls walking along one of the many paths. They passed within 20 yards, completely unaware of my presence.
“Everything quieted down for a bit after they left, and then a yellow Lab came through, obviously tracking the girls, until its owner appeared.
“I knew my hunt was not ruined, but I never expected all that commotion,” he continued. “While watching the man and his dog, I called Jeff. He told me to stay positive and to hang in there. He even said I’d kill a great buck before the day was finished.”
Even with the much needed pep talk, Matt still had to remind himself of the trail cam photos and how people seemed to have a minimal effect upon the deer.
“About 30 minutes later, I saw something move in the woods about 35 yards distant. It was a massive, dark-racked deer with points, including drop tines, going in every direction,” he said.
“I grabbed my video camera and tried to get some footage as the buck started to move in my direction. I tried to attach the camera to the mount so I could video the shot, but some part was missing. I finally laid it aside, lifted my crossbow and rested it on the shooting sticks.
“The buck was 27 yards away at that point, broadside and heading toward a nearby hayfield. I made sure the limbs of the crossbow were clear of the blind, put the crosshairs right on the animal’s shoulder and released the bolt.
“I wanted to hit the deer hard, to drop it where it stood. I didn’t want it running through one of the suburbs with an arrow sticking out of its side,” he added.
The bolt hit exactly where Matt aimed it, literally knocking the buck off its feet.
“I quickly re-cocked and reloaded the crossbow and sat there in an adrenaline haze. I don’t know for how long,” he said.
“My exit from the blind was anything but graceful. When I finally made my way over to the downed animal, I was overwhelmed.”
He called Jeff, his wife and Steve, who was out of town and unable to come. But after seeing photos on his phone, Steve called his brother, Scott, who was hunting nearby. Scott called Matt and offered to come over with a buddy to help him.
“I have some of the best friends in the world!” he said.
Later that day, Matt pulled his trail cameras, which he hadn’t checked in three days. Turns out, this monster had been photographed numerous times, the last just seconds before it felt the broadhead’s kiss.
Matt donated the venison to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry.
Hunter: Matt Sheterom
BTR Official Score: 184 5/8
BTR Composite Score: 202 7/8
— Photos Courtesy of Matt Sheterom This article was published in the November 2012 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.
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