October 10, 2022
By Blake Garlock
Just one week before Pennsylvania’s statewide archery season opened, David Putt received a trail camera photo of a big non-typical. It was the first time David had ever seen the big, mature deer.
“I told my son about it,” David says. “And he said, ‘Dad, just keep quiet about it and go up there and hunt when season opens.’”
Due to heavy rains resulting from hurricane Ian traveling up the east coast and prior obligations, David didn’t get out to hunt on Pennsylvania’s Oct. 1 opening day. Actually, he never made it out to hunt until Wednesday Oct. 5.
David hunts with a Horton crossbow, and he prefers to hunt from the ground. He doesn’t own the land he hunts on, so he is a by-permission bowhunter. For his hunt on Oct. 5, David set his stool up against a tree roughly 25 yards from the edge of a gas pipeline. Initially, not much happened.
“Just before 7 o’clock that evening, I began to pack up,” David recalls. “I took my gloves off, my facemask off, and put my blaze-orange hat back on that I always wear when I walk in and out.”
David sat back to wait out the final minutes of shooting light, but then he saw something moving through the woods.
“His rack looked like a rocking chair coming through the woods,” David laughs. “I let him turn broadside to me and I whacked him!”
Right after the shot, David called his son, Josh. Josh told his father to leave the woods, and the pair waited about an hour before taking up the blood trail. It didn’t take long to find the buck. Josh counted his steps, and it turns out the non-typical only ran 32 steps before piling up.
“We just couldn’t believe it,” David says. “I’ve been hunting for 58 years, and the biggest buck I’d ever gotten is an 8-point with a 14-inch spread. I jokingly told my son I may have to hang it up now!”
David has had multiple hunters reach out to him who have been watching the buck for several years, and one hunter stopped by his house with the buck’s sheds from the past. David says he’s amazed by the number of hunters who’ve seen the buck before.
David and his son green-scored the non-typical, and the deer unofficially grosses 187 4/8 inches. He’s a big deer for anywhere, but he’s especially a giant for Pennsylvania!