New Hampshire's New State-Record Bow Kill

New Hampshire's New State-Record Bow Kill

Scot Chevalier made a good hit on a spectacular buck, but he lost the deer in the rain. An honest hunter helped recover the buck and put Chevalier into the record books for keeps!

Scot Chevalier's Rockingham County trophy is the third state-record buck taken in three years! It scored 175 4/8 Boone and Crockett points.
Photo courtesy of Scot Chevalier

How often do we pick up a hunting magazine and read a story about some dishonest hunter who stole another hunter's deer? It's a depressing trend, and something every hunter dreads, especially bowhunters who make good hits but often must let their bucks "stiffen up" overnight. The thought that someone else might come across the blood trail and find the downed buck is enough to worry any hunter. When worry turns into reality, the sport is marred and tainted by such unethical actions.

Fortunately, this is not one of those depressing stories. This one has a happy ending, and a new state-record archery buck!

Archer Scot Chevalier has been hunting since he was 8 years old. He has roamed the woods of New Hampshire, Maine and New Jersey and has shot many whitetails with his bow, muzzleloader and shotgun. But, in 2004, at the age of 40, Chevalier encountered a buck that could only be called a "buck of a lifetime." And thanks to the honesty of a fellow hunter, Chevalier has that buck hanging on his wall today.

Oct. 15 was one of those perfect overcast days. The air was heavy, the sky was grey, and rain was in the forecast. Chevalier loves to hunt on such days, and on this particular afternoon he headed to a stand in Rockingham County that he has hunted several times before.

The stand was on a ridge nestled in a piece of property Chevalier has been hunting for several years. The 170-acre privately owned property has a nice mix of pastures, hardwoods, hemlocks, swamps and bogs, and is bordered by a few square miles of additional hunting land.

Chevalier had taken some nice bucks off this property in the past, including a 168-pound 7-pointer bow kill and a 178-pound 6-pointer with a 23-inch inside spread that he shot with his shotgun.

He had recently moved the stand to a slightly better vantage point, and in a few previous hunts had toyed with a smallish buck but had not gotten a shot.

However, this day would be different.

Chevalier was hunting alone, as he usually did during archery season. He used to hunt with a close friend, but over the last few years he had decided that solitary bowhunting was the best way to kill a good buck. He arrived to his stand and got ready to hunt. The temperature was in the 50s and the winds were calm. Chevalier silently hoped the rains would hold off till after dark.

As he waited, Chevalier thought about the monster buck the owner of the property had been watching all summer. He wondered if the owner had really seen that buck, or if he was just "yanking my chain" with his stories. If the buck was real and as big as everyone said, it would have to be a monster!

Chevalier's train of thought was derailed by the sound of a walking deer, and his eyes quickly found movement on the ridge. Thirty yards away he could see a deer moving toward him, and through the leaves he noticed the glint of antler. It was a buck, but Chevalier did not know how big and really didn't care. He got himself ready and concentrated on the kill zone as the buck moved through the hemlocks.

Waiting for the right moment, Chevalier came to full draw, as his eyes followed the walking buck. He knew this was a "good" buck, but as any experienced hunter should, Chevalier was concentrating on the shot, not the rack.

Finally, the buck presented a beautiful shot at 20 yards, quartering away, and Chevalier let the arrow fly. Based on the buck's reaction, Chevalier knew he had a good hit. He waited 10 minutes and then got down to check for his arrow.

When he was down, he heard another deer take off on top of the hill above him. That made him wonder if this was the deer he hit, possibly heading back where he came from? Or was it a different deer? The uncertainty was enough to cause Chevalier to leave the woods and get some help.

He called his father and nephew for help tracking, and they came quickly. They looked for the deer but found nothing. The blood trail, which was spotty to start with, had disappeared. As darkness set in, the hunters were faced with a decision: Keep looking, or wait till daylight? To complicate matters, rain was in the forecast! The hunters did the only thing that made sense. They waited. And it was a very long night!

The next morning, the three hunters, with the help of two more friends, went out and searched a 250-yard radius around where the deer had been hit. To Chevalier's great disappointment, they came up with nothing. It had rained all night, and what little sign that had been there the night before was now gone.

Chevalier was determined to keep looking in the coming days. He wouldn't give up that easily!

The next day after work, Chevalier received an amazing "gift" that he had not been counting on. Another hunter he knew stopped by and asked if he had been hunting the "back of the property." The men knew each other and knew they were hunting the opposite sides of the same piece of land. The man asked Chevalier if he had shot a buck, and of course, Chevalier said yes.

Joe (the other hunter) had found a big buck dead in the woods, and he contacted a game warden. The game warden, aware that Chevalier was searching for a downed buck, suggested that Joe contact Chevalier.

Joe was able to tell Chevalier exactly where the buck was. Excited and anxious, Chevalier and his nephew went to where Joe suggested, and there was the buck, lying about 200 yards from where it was originally shot. The deer had been hit behind the last rib, with the arrow coming out the front of the left shoulder, shearing the liver in a fatal blow.


Somehow, Chevalier and his crew had missed the buck during their search. But thanks to Joe -- the honest hunter -- the big buck was recovered.
 

Somehow, Chevalier and his crew had missed the buck during their search. But thanks to Joe -- the honest hunter -- the big buck was recovered.

Up close, Chevalier couldn't believe just how big this buck was! He thinks he probably wou

ld have missed the shot if he knew how big this deer really was! But he was always taught not to look at the rack, but to concentrate on the shot. And fortunately, that's exactly what he had done.

Chevalier and his nephew dragged the buck out of the woods and checked him in. His dressed weight was an impressive 190 pounds, but his rack grabbed most of the attention.

Chevalier had his buck officially scored by Roscoe Blaisdell, a local Boone and Crockett Club scorer and president of the New Hampshire Antler and Skull Trophy Club.

The gross score before asymmetry deductions (used by the Northeast Big Buck Club) was 183 0/8. The net score after deductions was 175 4/8 (the final score for Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young).

The 12-point typical rack sports main beams of 25 7/8 and 26 0/8 inches, with an inside spread of 20 4/8 inches. The G-2s are very impressive at 12 2/8 inches and 13 1/8 inches. The antler bases are a respectable 4 6/8 inches on each side. There is even a 13th point, although it was abnormal and did not count toward the gross typical score.

The Chevalier buck replaces last year's new archery typical Granite State record, a 163 4/8-inch 9-pointer arrowed by New Hampshire resident Jim Stockman in Carroll County in 2003. Stockman's buck replaced J.C. Town's 162 2/8-inch 9-pointer shot in Carroll County in September of 2002.

Is this a trend? For three consecutive years, a new state-record typical archery buck in New Hampshire. Will hunters do it again in 2005?

A HAPPY ENDING

It isn't often that there is a happy ending to a story involving a wounded archery buck, a game warden and another hunter. But thanks to persistence on the part of Chevalier and the honesty of the archer who shared his hunting grounds, New Hampshire has a new, "clean" state-record typical archery buck!

Stories like this one are good for our sport and good for our spirits. Let's hope for similar success and camaraderie in 2005!

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