Ty Schaefer Buck: Pennsylvania's New No. 4 Typical of All Time
December 30, 2013
As Ty Schaefer and his grandfather rode in the back of the pickup truck, staring in amazement at Ty's first archery kill, the young hunter thought back to a nearly identical scene two years earlier.
Back then, Ty had just shot a big 16-pointer in gun season, and he and his grandfather had shared a similar ride in the back of Ty's father's truck.
"He told me that day that I'd never kill another buck this big for the rest of my life," Ty recalls his grandfather saying.
It took him just two years to prove his grandfather wrong — thanks to a massive buck that would rank as one of the finest ever taken by a Pennsylvania bowhunter.
A SCOUTING TOOL
Even at only 23 years old, Ty doesn't lack in hunting experience. He killed his first deer with a gun at 15, then took five in the span of six years. His 16-pointer, which was estimated to be 5 1/2 years old, was shot during a drive in 2010.
Before the 2012 season, though, Ty began seriously considering archery hunting. A number of his friends from work bowhunted, and it would give him an excuse to spend more time in the woods to scout for gun season. Ty did some quick research and bought a used bow from another hunter.
"I literally bought it a week before the season," Ty says.
Armed with extensive knowledge of the land and access to several properties around his Fayette County home, the new bowhunter hit the woods. But other than a brief, far-off sighting of what looked to be a mature buck, his bow career got off to an inauspicious start. October came and went with Ty seeing only limited deer activity.
Although he knew the area had potential to produce quality bucks, Ty didn't know that after the end of the 2011 season, at least two other local hunters had captured trail camera pictures of a buck whose headgear would push 150 inches.
"I had no idea at all about the buck," Ty notes. "Including my uncles, we have four cameras out, but we hunt a little bit of a different location than where my house is."
A New Stand
On Nov. 8, Ty got off work early and prepared to hit the woods. Some of his recent bowhunts had been busts, due in part to the effects of Superstorm Sandy sweeping through the area. He considered heading to a stand he'd frequently hunted, but with time running short that afternoon, he wondered if he'd have enough time to hike the 30 minutes to the stand.
Ty gave his mother a call, and she reminded him that a nearby neighbor had granted him hunting access. With that property only five minutes or so from his front door, the bowhunter decided to give it a try.
He found his way to the spot around 3:15 p.m., only to discover what barely amounted to a platform stand. But set up in a staging area between a grass field and a nearly impenetrable thicket, it appeared to be in a prime location. Ty decided to try hunting right there.
There was deer movement within minutes. Around 4:30 p.m., Ty saw a buck chasing. A grunt to gauge the deer's reaction brought no response, so Ty grunted again. But the deer disappeared.Shortly after that, a doe stepped out of the thicket behind the stand. She then fed within shooting distance for more than 20 minutes. Then Ty heard a buck grunt in the same direction from which the doe had appeared.
"When he stepped out, he was already 25 yards away," the bowhunter recalls. "I knew he was big. I just didn't know how big."
The buck began walking to Ty's left. As the archer turned and drew, the buck stopped. Ty settled the 20-yard pin a bit high and released.
"He kicked a little bit, but I had never shot a deer with a bow, so I didn't know how well I'd hit him," Ty recalls. "I watched him run, and he hit a downed tree about 40 yards away and went down."
After a brief search, Ty and his dad found the brute. And that's when the animal's true size became obvious.
"We were in shock," Ty says.
A Ghost Buck
As Ty texted photos of the deer and friends from around town came to visit, word spread about the nearly perfect 10-pointer. After seeing the buck, a local hunter knew it was the same one that had appeared on his trail camera in late winter 2012 after already dropping one antler.
Another hunter also told Ty he'd captured the buck on camera between the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Others said they had spotted him in fields at night. But one common theme was that no one reportedly had ever seen the buck during legal shooting hours.
"It's pretty mountainous here, but there's a good bit of farms with corn fields around the area," Ty says. "Plus, the area he came from, even though it's only 100 yards or so from a road, is so thick you can't crawl on your hands and knees through it."
Ty had the buck scored by Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young official measurers, and the results exceeded his highest expectations. With four tines longer than 10 inches and only 3 3/8 total inches of deductions, the buck would officially net 172 4/8.
Bob D'Angelo, Pennsylvania Game Commission's Big Game Scoring Program Coordinator, confirmed it will be the state's No. 4 all-time archery typical when the record book is updated for 2013.
On the evening of the kill, Ty and his grandfather took nearly the same ride in the back of the truck as they had two years prior, when the elder hunter had offered what at the time had seemed infallible words of wisdom.
"He said, 'Ty, you need to understand that you'll never kill another buck this big in your life," the young bowhunter remembers with a laugh. "I told him 'Pappy, that's the same thing you said two years ago.'
"He was speechless."
With the same bow he began with in 2012, Ty went into the 2013 season in hopes of topping his personal best yet again. The young whitetailer of course has many who doubt he'll ever do it, but the hunter himself isn't one of them.
"I'm a complete believer in Pennsylvania's antler restrictions," he says. "I see bigger and bigger deer every year. A lot of people say that I'm lucky. I say, if you spend a lot of time in the woods, something good will happen."