Rick DiBene Buck: 169-Inch New York Brute

Rick DiBene Buck: 169-Inch New York Brute

rick_dibene_1Every year, New York produces some of the Northeast's biggest bucks. In fact, going into last fall, over the previous five hunting seasons (2008-12) the Northeast Big Buck Club had measured three Empire State trophies with gross scores over 200 inches, plus another 44 with gross scores between 170-200. That's a bunch of great whitetails for a state often overlooked by hunters outside the region.

From what we NBBC measurers have seen, this trophy trend continued in 2013. And one of the top bucks was a trophy from a suburban area increasingly becoming known for huge whitetails.

Big Ones in the 'Burbs

Suburban Suffolk County, which occupies the bulk of Long Island, is home to many of the state's best bucks. Indeed, NBBC records show New York's top three gross-scoring archery bucks of all time came from Suffolk, and five of the top seven. That's even more incredible when you consider this county has the state's fourth-largest human population.

rick_dibene_stateGiven Suffolk's rich history of monster whitetails, it's no surprise that one of New York's top bucks of 2013 fell to a suburban archer there.

As with most other stories about big bucks in the 'burbs, this one starts with a great piece of property. Rick DiBene originally got permission to hunt it through his good friend Mike Scavone. The landowner had experienced many problems with overpopulated whitetails on the property and was more than happy to have Mike and Rick thin out the herd.

Their plan revolved around harvesting as many does as they could legally shoot. But when it came to bucks, they'd shoot only those they were willing to mount. They let the little bucks walk, focused on taking does, and put themselves in great position to shoot a buck of a lifetime.

Over the years the friends have hunted this land they've taken many does, but also some very nice bucks. The property is a mix of hardwoods, big lawns and walking trails, along with a small freshwater pond. Local deer seldom use the property for bedding — they primarily just pass through to feed and drink.

Mike and Rick run trail cameras all year and have many photos of nice bucks. However, they've shot only three that had posed for photos. So it seems most of the good bucks are "first timers" passing through. That also would be the case with Rick's great 2013 trophy.

This hunter forgoes all other methods of hunting and dedicates himself to archery hunting only. And while he hunts a state whose trophy potential is little known to outsiders, he's killed many good bucks over the years. Rick's trophies include a 163-inch non-typical 13-pointer from 2011; five bucks that score between 130 and 140; and many that score up to about 125. So it's safe to say this guy knows what a trophy buck looks like and what it takes to harvest one.

In 2013, the property offered Mike and Rick a new twist: For the first time in their memory, it was loaded with acorns. By mid-October the oak area near the pond was torn up with deer sign. Rick moved his stand to take advantage of this bounty, with the idea the mast might help to hold some of these pass-through bucks on the property longer.

Rick decided to move his stand to a new spot now known as the "triple tree" (because three good trails intersect within 20 yards). And that turned out to be a great choice.

Rick's first hunt from the new setup was on the morning of Oct. 25. Although the wind was howling as the bowhunter got into the stand in the dark, he could hear deer passing close by. At first light, Rick saw a very large-bodied deer about 100 yards away. It looked as though the deer was feeding on acorns. Rick's plan was coming together perfectly.

After waiting a few minutes, he decided to grab his rattling antlers and try to get the attention of the big deer. When he did, to his surprise, the deer immediately charged toward the tree stand. And it was a big buck!

Rick quickly hung up the antlers, grabbed his Mathews Z7 and came to full draw just as the buck got to the base of the tree. The deer saw the movement and ran back out to about 15 yards, presenting a perfect quartering-away shot. Rick immediately let his arrow fly.

The shot hit a little far forward, but Rick was confident his Rage 2-blade would do the job. He watched the buck run about 20 yards, stop and look around. The buck then walked another 20 yards into a thicket and out of sight.

Just then, Rick caught movement below him. Standing right where the big buck had been at the shot was a small 6-pointer  . . . followed by a 130-class 8-pointer! Both must have come to the sound of the rattling as well.

The 4x4 put his nose to the ground and went into the thicket the monster had just fled into. To Rick it looked as though this buck then began making a rub on a tree. But when Rick grabbed his binocular, he was shocked by what he saw: The 8-pointer was pushing around the wounded monster, which was having trouble holding his head up! Finally the trophy succumbed to the arrow, and the other buck — undoubtedly thinking he'd just vanquished his rival — walked off!

Rick was a nervous wreck, but he couldn't wait to check out his trophy. Fortunately, he'd been updating Mike with cell phone calls, and in the process, Mike had continued to tell him to remain calm and give the situation a little time before trying to climb out of the tree.

When Rick finally gathered his composure enough to climb down, he wasn't disappointed at what he found lying in the thicket. His buck was indeed a giant! The moment he laid his hands on the rack was an unforgettable experience: a memory that will last a lifetime.

Tale of the Tape

This Long Island buck is really impressive, whether categorized as a typical 10-pointer or a non-typical 13-pointer. Total gross score, including 5 6/8 inches of abnormal growth in the three extra points, is 175 2/8. Typical gross score is 169 4/8. The rack is really wide, with a 21 3/8-inch inside spread, and the main beams are good, at 24 4/8 and 25 5/8. Tine length is extremely good, with three over 10 inches: the longest being the right G-2, at 12 1/8. Each base circumference measures 4 4/8.

According to NBBC records, which rank whitetails by gross score, the DiBene buck is the largest typical bow buck killed in New York since 2011. That year, Jamie Koch arrowed a 176-inch 10-pointer in Genesee County. Rick's deer will rank in NBBC's top 15 for archery typicals from the state. Overall, the buck is just a great archery trophy, one that would be considered exceptional anywhere.

In Conclusion

Suburban Suffolk County is a hotspot for trophy whitetails, and it's likely to remain one. But don't think other parts of New York are incapable of producing big deer. Trophies come from every corner of this great state every season.

For more on NBBC, or to buy its latest record book, Northeast Trophy Whitetails VII, visit the site, email jbhunts@aol.com or call (508) 752-8762.

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