Hunting > Whitetails

Member's Hunt: The Brawl in the Fall

A brawl between two bucks is something that most hunters only dream of. NRA member David Trimble got to witness two mature bucks fighting, but would he get a shot at one?

David Trimble, Aliquippa, Pa.

It was late October 2005 when I found myself heading to Reading, Pa., to hunt with my brother Brian. He had been seeing some really good bucks while scouting and had already taken a nice 8-point. I was full of excitement and had high hopes of bringing in one of those nice bucks myself.

The first morning of the hunt, Brian put me in a treestand overlooking a wide flat that held plenty of large oaks mixed with pine trees. As the sun rose, I could see a few deer trails running across the flat, including one that came right past my treestand. The beauty of the fall colors mixing with the sunlight really gave me a sense of peace and wonder of God’s creation.

Suddenly, the sound of deer running in the leaves caught my attention. Not 40 yards away, I spotted a huge buck chasing a doe. I knew the rut was starting and that this buck had only one thing on his mind. I tried to remain calm as I watched him chase her, though my heart was pounding hard. Eventually, the doe bedded down about 50 yards away from my stand, much to the dismay of the buck that was trying everything to get her back on her feet. I called at him to see if he’d move closer to me, but he would not leave that doe.

As I stood there frustrated, another buck entered the scene and began walking toward the two of them. The first and bigger buck began to posture, making sounds I had never heard in my 30 years of hunting. I knew something I had never witnessed before, a fight between two mature bucks, was coming. Suddenly, they met head on. Leaves and tree branches flew into the air as they battled intensely for the doe. As the dominant buck gained control, I was sure he would kill the other, smaller buck, particularly when he flipped the smaller buck into an adjacent pine tree. However, the smaller buck—completely exhausted and realizing the futility of the situation—gave up and ran off.

As I gathered my thoughts about what I had just seen, I looked in the direction of the doe and realized she was gone. Searching around in hopes of finding her, I caught movement to my left, where she was standing about 15 yards away. At that moment I knew the victor would be coming to claim his prize, and, quickly turning my eyes, I saw him walk onto the trail that would lead him right to the doe—and right under my treestand.

I drew my Oneida Aeroforce bow and the buck stopped at less than 10 yards. I settled the pin right in the kill spot and squeezed the trigger. The arrow hit perfectly. The buck ran about 20 yards and stopped, face to face with the doe. As they stared at each other I could see the affects of the arrow taking its toll. He began to back-step and then collapsed. After standing for some time, the doe ran off.

I called Brian and he arrived at my treestand before I was on the ground. In our excitement, we talked about the buck’s potential for Pope & Young recognition. Although not officially recorded, the buck green-scored 1395/8 inches with an impressive outside spread of more than 20 inches. Field-dressed, it weighed 191 pounds. It was, by far, one of my biggest bucks to date.

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