With my roots running deep through the rolling hills of Western New York, I always pay attention when I hear about big bucks killed in that area. Those that have a great story or stand taller than most are often chronicled right here for my readers.
Jake Maurer, 17, of Bergen, N.Y., holding his opening day trophy (image borrowed from The Batavian)
But I’m sharing the next one for a couple reasons. First, the beautiful buck killed by Jake Maurer, of Bergen, is very impressive. The 17-pointer by a 17-year old is one that will surely go down in the annals of Western New York history as an elite deer – not only in the 2011 season, but of all time.
But I’m also sharing it because of the way The Batavian editor Howard Owens handled a couple posts that were critical to his online community news site for posting a picture of “a murdered animal.” Simply put, well done Mr. Owens!
Let’s chat about the deer first. The young Maurer’s dad, Jeff, provided the following to The Batavian about his son’s quest.
“My 17-year-old son, Jake Hunter Maurer, took this 17 pointer on opening day of this year’s archery season, Saturday October 15, 2011.
He was hunting alone on the evening of the first day of this year’s bow season and though the weather was not ideal, a little windy and cool, this buck meandered through and was the only deer that he saw that afternoon. It presented a 20-yard shot and Jake was able to make it a successful one.
He found his arrow and returned home for an hour then went back out with his friend and father to track it. It had only traveled about 80 yards where they found out just how big he really was. With 17 scoreable points, it may have to be recorded as a non-typical due to the abnormal points on the antlers. But it appears to be big enough for the NYS record book, whether it is recorded as a typical or non-typical.
Jake photographed this same buck with a trail camera a few weeks before season and figured out his travel habits between his bedding area and feeding areas. He found a tree to put a stand in and went there the first day even though other hunters may have stayed out of the woods due to the high winds and cold rain. We took it to a local taxidermist to be mounted and look forward to several meals from all the meat as it weighed about 200 pounds.”
Awesome deer, Jake. Congratulations.
Now onto the second topic. As I scrolled through the feedback (it should be noted that the story was shared by contributing writer Greg Johnston), I was interested to see how the online site would handle the criticism posted in the very first post. In reading Mr. Owens’ reply, I almost stood to applaud! First, I am pleased that he did respond to the feedback. Not every editor, online or not, would choose to respond to the unfortunate response by a reader with zero open mind.
I opted to post the entire response, as I thought it was both well written and provided in great detail why the reader could expect more photos of dead deer in the future on The Batavian.
“Two years ago, we published a photo of somebody’s trophy, and there was a complaint. Last year, we published a photo of somebody’s trophy, and somebody complained. This year, we publish a photo, and get complaints. And next year, when we publish a similar photo, we’ll probably get complaints. And the year after that and the year after that and the year after that.
This is a hunting county. We will provide coverage of hunting news as it’s available. Most people like it.
Part of living in a diverse society is you sometimes get exposed to stuff you don’t like. Not everybody is going to be happy with everything we publish, but once I start trying to please everybody, then everybody is going to complain about how boring The Batavian is.
First, no dead deer pictures, then no arrest reports, and then no sports coverage because you covered that team and not this team, and then no political coverage because some people find politics upsetting, and then no city council coverage because they’re just politicians, and then no court coverage because that’s a private matter, and then no new business openings because that just gives people a sense of false hope, and then no barn photos because not everybody likes barns, etc. and etc. and etc.
There’s always somebody who doesn’t like something, but so long as most people seem to like the coverage we provide, we’ll do our best to provide coverage of a diverse and broad range of topics in Genesee County, including hunting, which will invariably include trophy shots.”
Awesome response, Mr. Owens. Congratulations.