posted on March 30, 2014 10:51
By Mike Handley
Shawn Evangelista almost forgot how to form words last year. Even his three-word sentences, repeated for emphasis, were more a series of emitted vowel sounds, punctuated by gulps of air.
You'd think that seeing - and indeed arrowing - a deer he'd seen hundreds of times in trail camera photographs would've been easy-breezy. But looking at jpegs isn't the same as ogling the real live buck, especially when it doesn't seem the least bit bothered by a hole in its side.
But at least Shawn kept his cool when it mattered. He didn't become undone until afterward.
He and his close friend, Dave Allen, had been hoping to connect with the brute for two years. Both men spent countless hours setting out and checking cameras, even (by permission) on property they couldn't hunt.
Shawn eventually discovered the buck's daytime hideout and gained permission to hunt the swampy, recently logged tract.
The wind was wrong for him to hunt there on Saturday, Nov. 9, so he didn't go that morning. And the only reason he went that afternoon was because he convinced himself that another hunter's scent might push deer out of the bedding area and into his lap.
"I sat there, relaxed in my climber, watching squirrels running helter-skelter everywhere, making tons of noise, when I suddenly heard a twig snap," he told Ed Waite, who measured the deer and is writing the story for Rack magazine.
"I knew it wasn't a squirrel's doing, so I glanced over my right shoulder into the deepest part of the thicket, and I saw a monstrous rack," he added.
In the next few minutes, the familiar whitetail closed from 75 to 40 yards, and Shawn's bowstring hummed.
"The buck took two hops, and then started walking as if nothing had happened," Shawn said. "It was angling away from me, and my mind was reeling. I couldn't figure out what went wrong. It looked like a really good hit."
At that point, his eyes still on the deer, Shawn decided to call Dave, who was also hunting that afternoon. It doesn't matter if Dave heard "I shot him," (twice) or if it was more like "I-ottim-I-ottim." Dave knew from the sound of Shawn's voice that his friend's cage had been rattled. And he could guess why.
While the two buddies conversed, the animal fell over dead.
Turns out, this the fourth buck that Shawn's "lucky arrow" has claimed. It has also carried Rage broadheads into two does and a pair of coyotes. He says he might retire it after this accomplishment.
The 24-pointer's BTR composite score is 237 5/8 inches.