My fears had come true. It was May 11, 2013 and I was out chasing spring gobblers in Upstate New York when I stumbled upon him. It was the end of the mystery – I now knew what had happened to this buck 8 months prior.
It’s something we as hunters never want discover, but unfortunately we do from time to time. Finding a dead rotten buck is never a pleasant sight, especially when it’s a deer you recognize. It’s a theme that many deer hunters experience, we focus in on a particular buck only to have the animal disappear for one reason or another. Such was the case here.
I had captured several trailcamera photos of this buck back in mid-September. They weren’t the best quality images, but I saw enough of the deer’s antlers to interest me. I knew the buck was a definite up-and-comer and I looked forward to monitoring his progress and finding him back the following season.
The 2012 hunting season came and ended without a single sighting of this buck.
The next time I would lay yes on him would be that warm May morning. The buck lay dead nearly a mile from where my Bushnell Trophy Cam had captured those images of him back in September.
It’s always a bitter-sweet moment when you discover an animal like this. On one hand you’re relieved that you know what happened to him and on the other; you’re disappointed and saddened that he’s gone and won’t be around for the upcoming season. And then there’s always the question of how the animal died.
I began inspecting the 8-pointer for clues as to what may have lead to his death, and there in pain sight was the answer. A G5 T3 Broadhead was wedged in to the buck’s right shoulder blade. The finding left little doubt that the deer had been shot by a fellow archer and never recovered – most likely because the arrow never penetrated the deer’s vitals.
This story would end here if I lived in Texas or Illinois, but I don’t. I reside and hunt in New York State. I tell you that to tell you this: G5’s T3 Broadheads are illegal for hunting purposes in NYS.
A quick check of the NYS Department of Conservation’s website will tell you that ANY barbed broadhead is illegal. Period.
Here’s how the DEC defines a barbed broadhead: “A barbed Broadhead is one in which the angle formed between the trailing or rear edge of any blade and the shaft is less than 90 degrees.”
Clearly the T3 fits this description.
I’m unsure of who shot the buck – and to be honest, I don’t really care, but may I suggest that he or she pay a visit to http://www.dec.ny.gov prior to heading out to the local pro shop to stock up on next season’s broadheads.
As for the buck, I salvaged his head and plan to do a european mount on him.
It’s a shame really, but at least I now have answers to my questions.
May 17th, 2013 at 10:26 am
This is an interesting and informative entry.
May 24th, 2013 at 9:48 am
Thanks for doing this bit of forensics and hunter education. Most hunters are responsible stewards of the wilds, and it’s critical that they call out other folks who aren’t doing the right thing.