It's not often that a state record is broken, but when it happens in back-to-back seasons, that's news! Here's the story behind the two biggest typical whitetails ever taken by Empire State bowhunters.
By Jeff Brown
We all love to read stories about new state-record bucks, particularly big, impressive typicals taken by bowhunters. But it is really something special when the same record falls in back-to-back seasons. That is exactly what happened during the 2002 and 2003 seasons when two New York state archers took state-record typicals in successive seasons.
According to the Northeast Big Buck Club, the Northeast region's newest whitetail scoring and record-keeping organization, these are also the top two typical bucks killed by archers in the Northeast!
These two bucks rival many of the best archery typical bucks killed anywhere in the U.S. during that time period. Is this the proof we need to assert New York's right to claim that it is a prime destination for bowhunters looking to connect on trophy bucks?
That question may be open to debate, but there is no question that these two 180-class archery bucks will raise some eyebrows.
THE WEINERTH BUCK
Mike Weinerth has been bowhunting deer for almost 20 years, primarily in his home state of New York. The 36-year-old archer is active in the hunting community, and in fact, founded his own hunting club, the Mahogany Ridge Buck Club. Weinerth is the president of that 100-member club, and is also a member of the Weedsport Rod and Gun Club.
When he isn't busy with his hunting clubs, Weinerth spends as much time in the field as he can. He has arrowed a few decent bucks in the past, including several 8- and 9-pointers. As he entered the 2003 season, he had yet to connect on a "really big one" with his bow. Well, he can't say that anymore. Thanks to a broken-down truck and big piece of farm equipment, Weinerth now has one great buck hanging on his wall!
At about noon on Oct. 28, 2003, Weinerth headed out to one of his favorite ambush spots. He had been hunting a new funnel that morning and needed to travel about 10 miles to get to his afternoon destination. As he was coming back through town, he lost the muffler from his pickup truck: Not good! In town, he ran into some of his buddies, who cut off his dangling muffler and got him going again. But this was not going to be a good day, because shortly after that the truck just conked out!
Weinerth called his girlfriend, Annette, and she was able to come and pick him up. He left his hunting gear in his truck and they headed home.
Along the way, they passed a gully Weinerth always looks into, hoping to see some deer. And guess what, this time there was a deer lying in the gully! The couple turned around and went back, and this time noticed a huge rack attached to the body bedded in the gully. And there was Weinerth with no bow, no suit and no truck - nothing!
Weinerth and Annette quickly turned around and drove back to the truck they left in town. On the way, they got caught in a traffic roadblock, and Weinerth was going crazy!
Finally, they reached his truck and Weinerth grabbed his clothes, bow and some other gear, turned around and headed back, hoping the monster buck would still be there. On the way, they got stuck behind a combine that was moving as slow as molasses! Weinerth thought he would lose his mind, but finally the combine turned left, and they passed it just before reaching the gully.
Weinerth jumped out and walked diagonally across the big field to peek over the gully to see if the buck was still there. Just as he reached the edge, the same combine came lumbering up the road. Weinerth could see the buck was still lying there with his rear end facing him at a quartering angle.
The buck was watching the noisy combine as it went by and never saw or smelled Weinerth. While the buck's attention was focused on the passing combine, Weinerth drew his bow and let the arrow fly. The arrow covered the 30-yard distance and hit the buck toward the back, around the liver area. The startled buck jumped up, and Weinerth could see some blood on his back.
The buck took off across a field toward some woods, and Weinerth followed. A few minutes later, Weinerth found his trophy!
Heart still pounding and with his mind spinning out of control, Weinerth was still in shock. The whole experience was just beyond belief. He could only stare at the giant rack and the huge body it was attached to.
Then, he realized that he didn't even have a knife to field dress the monster. So, he just grabbed those big antlers and started dragging. The buck weighed nearly 275 pounds before it was dressed, but the excitement and adrenaline gave Weinerth the strength to drag the big buck across the field by himself.
He knew he would have quite a story to tell his friends when he got back to town! Who would ever believe that a lost muffler and getting stuck behind a big, noisy combine would be the key ingredients for taking his "buck of a lifetime!"
Sometime later, after all of the excitement and storytelling was over, Weinerth went to a sportsman's show in Syracuse and met Paul Chapdelaine, vice-president of the Northeast Big Buck Club, the whitetail scoring and record-keeping organization in the Northeast. He showed Chapdelaine the photos of his buck, and after Paul picked his jaw up off the floor, he convinced Weinerth to bring him the rack back to have it officially scored.
Weinerth's dad brought the rack back to the show the next day, and several scorers from the NBBC panel scored the great buck in front of a crowd of more than 50 people. It was quite an event, and the outcome was worth the wait!
The Weinerth buck is impressive in every way. The typical 11-point frame grosses a whopping 181 3/8 inches and nets 168 6/8 Pope and Young points. The inside spread is 20 3/8 inches complemented by main beams in excess of 26 inches, giving the buck a very wide and sweeping look.
There are four tines in excess of 10 inches, including the left G-2, which is 13 2/8 inches long! This buck has very good mass as well, with bases of 5 5/8 inches and 5 6/8 inches.
There is an unmatched and short G-5 on the left side (1 6/8 inches long) and a 2 5/8-inch abnormal sticker point off the left brow tine, both of which bring the net score down, but this also gives the buck additional character and appeal.
These two small deductions keep the Weinerth buck from making the Boone and Crockett Club's All-Time Awards level of 170 net typical points, but the net score of 168 6/8 puts him well over the minimum book entry score of 160 inches. In short, this buck stands atop the list of New York archery typicals with its gross score, according to the Northeast Big Buck
But, it only holds the No. 1 spot by 7/8 of an inch when ranked by gross score. Another great buck taken in 2002 sits less than 1 inch behind Weinerth's buck in the all-time record books!
The Kruger buck ranks behind the Weinerth buck by 7/8 inches for the NBBC, but measures 1 6/8 inches more under P&Y and B&C rules! It ranked No. 1 for two weeks! Photo courtesy of Tjaart Kruger
THE KRUGER BUCK
Oneida County hunter Tjaart Kruger has taken four deer with a bow in four years of hunting. On Oct. 25, 2002, while hunting the family farm in Oneida County, Kruger arrowed a huge 10-point typical buck that holds a share of the state record. It is the largest net-scoring archery typical in the state and is less than 1 inch away from being the current state record for gross score. Regardless of the score, this is one amazing 10-point buck!
This great deer was no stranger to Kruger and his family, who had many photos of the deer captured on tracking cameras. For three years, the group had followed the growth of this great buck and every one of them hoped he would venture past their stands. Remarkably, no one saw the incredible buck in the woods during daylight hours until that fateful October day.
Kruger entered the woods around 6:30 a.m. that morning. It was a perfect day for hunting: cold, crisp, clear and frosty white. But the morning was relatively uneventful until just before 8 a.m. when several does wandered past his stand. Kruger had "nuisance tags" for the farm and decided that this would be a great day to arrow a doe for meat.
Kruger raised his bow and was about to release an arrow when he noticed movement behind the does. That's when he saw him. The big buck trotted out behind the does and paused just 15 yards from Kruger's stand!
Kruger quickly re-adjusted his position and swung the bow over for a shot at the giant buck. The arrow hit a little high, but it looked like a good lung shot. The big buck didn't know what hit him, and trotted away and out of Kruger's view. But when Kruger heard a loud crash, he knew the big buck had gone down!
Amazed at the turn of events and the suddenness of what had just taken place, Kruger gathered his gear and crept out of the woods to give the deer time to lie down and die.
He came back an hour later and found the buck just where he expected to. But when he got there, he could not believe the size of the deer's rack and body.
Kruger went for help to get this buck (which would later be weighed in at an amazing 245 pounds dressed) out of the woods.
For a week, people came in and out to see buck. The reaction in the community was amazing. Word spread like wildfire and the big archery monster was the talk of the town. The mount of Kruger's buck hangs in his store and continues to attract attention.
Kruger contacted Jim Down, a NBBC official, to get the great buck scored. The final score was 180 4/8 gross and 170 4/8 net Pope and Young points.
The buck has 10 scoreable typical points and an additional scoreable abnormal point on the right side that does not count toward the gross score, but does negatively impact the net typical score.
Like the Weinerth buck, the Kruger buck has an excellent inside spread (21 1/8 inches) complemented by main beams in excess of 26 inches each. The rack sports some impressive tine length as well, with long brow tines (both over 7 inches) and G-2s that measure 11 2/8 inches and 9 5/8 inches, respectively.
The mass is outstanding throughout, with total mass measurements in excess of 42 inches! The bases are 5 3/8 and 5 6/8 inches, and five of the eight circumference measurements exceed 5 inches.
The Kruger buck ranks behind the top-ranked Weinerth buck by just 7/8 inches gross for the NBBC, but actually nets 1 6/8 inches better than the Weinerth buck under Pope and Young and Boone and Crockett scoring rules! The NBBC uses the same scoring method as Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young, but ranks its entries by gross score (before deductions) rather than by net score (after deductions). But no matter how it ranks, this is a phenomenal archery buck!
QUITE A COMPARISON
Both of these New York typical bucks have higher gross scores than any other archery bucks ever arrowed anywhere in the Northeast! Prior to 2002, the largest archery buck from the Northeast (which by definition includes Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York) was taken by Maine bowhunter William Boston. His buck gross scored 178 4/8 as an 11-point typical. It was taken on a September bowhunt in 1999 in York County, Maine, while the buck was still in velvet. Boston's buck is now the No. 3 typical in the Northeast behind both the Kruger and Weinerth bucks.
Archer Ron Tavrick took the No. 4 buck in Connecticut in 1989. The Tavrick buck gross scores a whopping 175 inches as a 10-point typical and nets 171 6/8 inches. Tavrick took his buck in Litchfield County in the western part of the state.
Any year in which a record is broken once is a "special year." But to break the same record twice in successive seasons - that is really something for hunters to talk about. These two deer are good examples of what is possible for archers in New York State. Given the continued growth of bowhunting, and the apparent unending supply of trophy bucks in New York, you can bet that this will not be the last time this record is broken.
What are the odds that New York would have also broken its non-typical archery record twice in the same season? Well, that's exactly what happened in 2002.
Last year, we brought you the stories of the McMullen and Butta bucks, which took over the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in New York for archery non-typicals.
At 180 4/8 inches gross NBBC and 176 7/8 inches net Pope and Young, the McMullen buck is the largest non-typical archery buck from this state and is the largest non-typical archery buck from any state in the Northeast in 2002.
The Butta buck was a very close second at 179 4/8 inches gross NBBC and 170 1/8 inches net Pope and Young points. Both bucks beat the former No. 1 non-typical buck from New York, replacing the 173 2/8 Anthony Alesi buck taken in Suffolk County in 1997.
In the northeastern U.S. (including New York and all of New England), these bucks rank No. 3 and No. 4. The largest non-typical archery buck from the region is Glenn Townsend's 216 7/8 New Hampshire 20-pointer taken in 2000, followed by the 17-point Christopher Krista buck from Connecticut's 1998 archery season that score
d 199 1/8.
It is safe to assume that New York remains one of the most productive trophy states for archers in the Northeast, and should be considered a prime destination for the region's bowhunters.
According to the NBBC's records, in the last two years, New York has produced the top four archery bucks in the Northeast. Who knows what great stories will come out of the 2004 season?
For more information about the Northeast Big Buck Club, or to purchase the latest record book (Northeast Trophy Whitetails IV), visit the club's Web site at www.bigbuckclub. com; e-mail them at jbhunts@ aol.com; or write to NBBC, 390 Marshall Street, Paxton, MA 01612.
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