Whenever a doe becomes a bobble-head and closes sesame, you’d better be ready to shoot.
When Jason Erb saw the bobble-headed doe tuck her tail and move off, he suspected the gesture wasn’t aimed at him or her two yearlings.
It was Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, too early in the year for her to shoo away her fawns and become a hussy, but not too early for a buck to cruise through in search of a good time. And it was just the hour of the day — the very last minutes of sunset’s grace period — for the latter to happen.
In other words, as soon as the doe began acting antsy, Jason lifted his bow from his lap, rested it upright on his leg and attached his release.
The hunter from Alliance, Ohio, had spent 17 evenings in that ladder stand to that point, far more than he’s normally able to hunt. The property was in neighboring Columbiana County.
He’d arrived at 3:30, which meant he’d have only a couple instead of the three hours he had before the time change the previous night.
The doe and her yearlings were the only deer he’d seen, and they didn’t come onto the field until eight minutes before legal shooting time was to expire.
A minute after Jason clipped his release to the string, he saw another deer heading toward a scrape about 35 yards from him. He couldn’t tell, at first, if it was a buck. But when it reached the scrape and began licking the overhead limb, a rack took shape within the shadows.
“I still did not know if it was a shooter,” he said.
Nevertheless, when the buck began walking toward Jason and the two yearlings, Jason figured he’d better draw while he could. He didn’t bother to stand.
“When the buck was within 18 yards, I decided it was a shooter,” he said.
At that point, Jason stopped looking at the antlers and focused on making the shot. From the sound of the thwack, he was pretty sure he’d hit the mark. The buck ran back the way it had come, and the doe and yearlings vanished.
“After waiting a few minutes, I got down and found my blood-stained arrow. I also discovered a blood trail,” Jason said. “At that point, I walked back to my truck and sat for 45 more minutes.”
He spent the time calling people from his contacts list, not to boast, because he still had no clue how big the buck actually was, but to take his mind off the wait.
“I called everyone that I could think of,” he said. “If you’re a hunter, you know how long that 45 minutes feels like hours!”
When he was done, Jason took up the trail and followed it 80 yards to his deer. He was shocked at the rack’s size.
“I called a friend to tell him I’d shot a nice deer, and he asked me how big it was,” Jason said. “I was quick to answer with somewhere between 140 and 150 inches.
“I told him I had to go, that I had a lot of work to do,” he continued. “As I knelt over the deer and ran my fingers over its rack, I almost cried. Only then did I realize it was a whole lot larger than that.”
A friend helped Jason with the 30-yard drag and with loading the estimated 250-pounder onto a UTV.
“After a full evening of show-and-tell, I took my 16-pointer home and hung it in the garage,” Jason said. “I wanted to sleep beside it with a gun to ensure no one messed with it!
“The next morning, I took it to Jeff Pusateri, my taxidermist, who was impressed,” he added. “Jeff rough-scored the antlers, and the result, which was within 1/8 inch of its official score, blew me away!”
Hunter: Jason Erb
BTR Score: 193 2/8
– Photos Courtesy Jason Erb
This article was published in the August 2014 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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