With daylight quickly fading on a mid-November evening, Jason Erb closed the deal on his “buck of a lifetime.” From his treestand on a friend’s serene plot of land in northeast Ohio, Erb nabbed this Buckeye monster buck from 18 yards.
It was around 5:30 p.m. on a quiet evening when “not even a leaf was moving in the woods,” Erb recalled.
Erb recounted the story in his own words:
A good friend of mine gave me permission to hunt his property in central Columbiana County in northeast Ohio. The property is absolutely picturesque, with rolling hills covered in a mixture of woods, crops and grassy fields. I was excited to hunt there because of the large deer population and known shooters in the area.
Prior to opening day, I looked over the property and decided to hunt a nice, hidden field not far-off the beaten path. This field was about 40 yards wide by 80 yards long with several apple trees around the perimeter. I secured a Sniper 16-foot Avenger Ladder Stand and a permanent safety strap/carabiner for my Hunter Safety System harness to a 10-inch diameter wild cherry tree in the northwest corner of this hidden field. I chose this corner because I thought the majority of the deer would be coming from the bottom of the draw in the northwest/southwest corners.
Excited for the upcoming season, I got my gear ready and my wife washed all of my hunting clothes. I have tried attractant scents over the years and have not been successful. Therefore, I do not use them. I do everything I can to eliminate human odor and let nature take its course. I do use the Dead Down Wind odor eliminator, however.
I started my archery season on Sep. 29, the second day of the season. I was in my stand almost daily. Most of my relaxing evenings were filled with noisy chipmunks, squirrels, blue jays and pileated woodpeckers. I was visited almost every evening by wandering does, fawns or immature bucks looking for a girlfriend.
Sunday, Nov. 3, was my 17th day in the woods. This was the first day of the time change. Therefore, daylight was reduced by an hour and legal daylight ended at 5:47 p.m. The evening was very still and not even a leaf was moving in the woods. About 5:35 p.m., a doe with two fawns came out in the small field I was hunting. They grazed around the field awhile until the doe started to get leery. She then tucked her tail and walked away. I have been in the woods long enough to know that it means a buck is not far behind.
I always sit with my Bear Attack compound bow across my lap with my left hand in the wrist sling and my right hand on my T- handle TRU-Ball release. Within a minute I saw another deer walking toward a scrape that was about 35 yards from me. At that time I could not tell it was even a buck. The deer walked over to the scrape that was located in the corner of the field, stretched out his neck and started licking the branch.
At that point I could see it was a buck, but I did not yet know if it was a shooter. The buck started walking toward me and the yearlings. As it came closer I turned my bow vertical and drew while still seated. The buck got within 18 yards and I knew he was a shooter, but again, I did not know he was as large as he was. I was focused on the shot and not looking at the size of his rack. I knew I was within minutes of legal time, and trust me, it was getting pretty dark.
He ran in the same direction he came from. After a few minutes I got down and went to where I shot. I found two-thirds of my arrow with blood on it. I walked a few feet and found blood. I walked back to my truck and sat for 45 minutes. If you are a hunter, you know how those 45 minutes can feel like hours!
After 45 minutes, I walked down to the impact site and started following the blood trail. He backtracked on the same trail that he came in on. I followed the blood about 80 yards and found a white belly staring right at me. As I walked up to the deer, I knew he was a shooter but I was still in shock. I called a friend to tell him I shot a nice deer, and he asked me how big the deer was. I was quick to reply that it was probably a 140- to 150-inch deer. I had a lot of work to do.
As I knelt over him and closely examined his rack, I almost cried. I knew this deer was a lot larger than I’d originally thought. After I gutted the deer, a friend of mine helped me drag the massive buck from where he expired. Luckily, I only had to drag him about 30 yards before we manhandled him into the back of a Kawasaki Mule. I assumed this deer was close to 250 pounds.
After a full evening of show and tell, I took him home and hung him in the garage. I wanted to sleep beside him with a gun to ensure no one stole him! The next morning I took him to the taxidermist, who was even impressed. Jeff measured the rack at 193 3/8 (gross) and aged him at 4 ½ years old. He has 16 scorable points and his inside spread was 25 5/8 inches.
As you can see by the photos and the smile on my face, I had a great archery season! To be honest, I think my wife was glad to see my season come to an end. I believe the novelty of my deer hunting was wearing-off. God blessed me with a once in a lifetime buck!