New California State-Record Blacktail

It was Thursday afternoon, September 9, 2010, the last week of the general archery season in hunt zone D5 in Amador County when a new California state-record blacktail was taken.

Valley Springs resident Steven Frater and his brother, Joe, were sitting back to back in a large Ponderosa pine overlooking a game trail surrounded by dense foliage and brush. The private land tract was at the 2,700-foot mark and 80 acres in size.

At 7:30 p.m. a forkhorn crept down the trail and Frater noticed another big-bodied deer behind it. A few steps more and all of a sudden Frater's prayers were answered. . . . It was the giant 4-pointer that they had caught on film in July. He was about 25 yards out and closing. Frater stopped the buck at 16 yards and sent his homemade carbon arrow sizzling through the air and through the buck's shoulder.

"He took off running, but stopped at 30 yards," recalled Frater. "He ran around in circles a few times, stopped, started wobbling and then went down for good about 50 yards out."

The Frater buck, a long-tined specimen featuring caribou-like palmation, officially grossed an amazing 176 3/8 points. It is now the No. 1 typical "inland blacktail" in the archery division of the California Records of Big Game. Frater's buck was estimated to be 8.5 years old and pushing 190 pounds on the hoof.

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