The year had started fairly slowly for Howard Fuller's hunting crew. Their lease on Hague's Graphite Mountain had produced just three medium-sized bucks as the 2008 regular rifle season drew to a close.
But that was all about to change.
On the final day of the late muzzleloading season, Fuller dropped an 18-pointer that raw scored 159 and an eighth inches, making the monster potentially eligible for the New York State Big Buck Club and perhaps even added to Boone & Crockett's "awards category."
Howard said he and his brother Bob decided to brave the cold and ankle-deep snow Dec. 14 to get in one final day of deer hunting.
"I got in some pretty good tracks, so I got on the radio to my brother and told him to move toward where I thought the deer were heading," Howard said.
But before Bob could make the move, Howard spotted a deer moving slowly through the thick undergrowth. He immediately spotted the deer's monster rack and pulled his Traditions in-line to his shoulder.
"I pulled into an opening about 40 yards away and squeezed the trigger as the deer stepped into it," he said.
When the smoke cleared, the brute lay in the snow not far from where Howard shot.
The buck wasn't Howard's largest, at least body-wise. Because he got him so late in the season, the deer weighed just 140 pounds.
But the antler growth was impressive.
"This definitely was the largest rack I've ever taken," he said.
Howard now has to wait the mandatory 60-day drying period before the antlers are officially scored. If the rack is deemed typical, it would need to score 140 inches to make the New York State Big Buck Club and 160 inches to make Boone & Crockett's "awards category."
Either way, the buck certainly is a trophy by anyone's standards. Howard said he plans to have Taxidermist Vicki Frasier mount the 18-pointer.
"This one's definitely going on the wall," he said.
Turkey shoot planned in Willsboro
WILLSBORO - The Willsboro Fish and Game Club will start its winter turkey shoots Jan. 11 and Jan. 25 from noon to 3 p.m. Any gun with any sites including scopes to four power are allowable. Youth are welcome with adult supervision and the kitchen will be open. Call Wayne Ashline at 873-2198 for additional information.
John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsman. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.