Two Big Non-Typicals From Pennsylvania
October 05, 2010
Last season Wes Osborne and Bill Tremba killed two of the biggest bucks taken in Pennsylvania. Here are the stories of the hunts. (July 2010)
Bill Tremba holds his monster 181 1/8 non-typical crossbow kill taken last season.
Photo by Bill Tremba.
Pennsylvania continues to climb in its quest to be one of the Northeast's premier trophy deer hunting destinations. Several monster bucks were taken, according to the Northeast Big Buck Club -- the region's scoring and record keeping organization for trophy whitetails.
This story details two of the state's best bucks of 2009 -- one killed with a crossbow, and the other with a firearm. Both stories involve a memorable hunt with family, and memorable encounters with great bucks!
"THAT'S NOT AN 8-POINT!"
Crossbow Hunter Bill Tremba Arrows One Of PA's Best Bucks Of 2009!
The 2009 season was Tremba's fourth year hunting with his crossbow. Serious problems with his back had disabled the 61-year-old and forced him into early retirement. He had lots of time to hunt with his son, but it seemed every year his son would tag out with his bow during the early season, and Tremba would have to hunt alone during the firearms season. So in 2006 he got his first crossbow and began hunting with it, with great success. He took a buck and doe each year with it, and most importantly, he was spending more time with his son during the archery season. In fact in 2008 Tremba took his best buck yet -- a nice 9-point. Things were working out perfectly.
Tremba and his son hunted the same pieces of woods in Indiana County for the last few years. These are not "big woods" like the country he had hunted in Maine, nor is it big open country like out west. This was wooded hillsides and little patches of woods with a lot of steep hills.
Tremba and his son knew the area fairly well. Their scouting and previous hunting there enabled them to zero in on two "shooter 8-points" that either hunter would have been very happy with, and those were the bucks they were after. Then, earlier in the season, Tremba's son missed a 10-Point with his longbow. They now knew that another buck was in the area, and their excitement and anticipation grew. But they had no idea that a much bigger prize roamed these woods.
The Day Of The Hunt
It was overcast on November 11th, and Tremba and his son were in the woods early. At 7 a.m. Tremba could hear the sound of a buck coming through the woods, footsteps crunching on heavy leaves in the fall morning. Tremba followed the sound and immediately knew it was a buck coming through small saplings, with his nose down.
Tremba knew the buck was legal (four points on one side) and immediately assumed it was one of those 8-Points they were after, but he could not shoot through the thick sapling growth. So he picked an opening and the deer stopped there, perfectly positioned to give Tremba a shot from his position sitting on the ground in a log jam. He touched off the 27-yard shot from his crossbow. The deer immediately bolted, and Tremba had a fleeting thought that maybe his shot deflected and missed. But as the buck crested the top of the hill, he stopped and faltered a little. Tremba's heart raced as the buck disappeared over the hillside to the sound of loud crashing. Tremba knew he was down!
Tremba's son was about 200 yards away in a tree stand, and he was scheduled to call at 7:30 on the radio, so Tremba impatiently waited for the call. At the appointed time the two men talked, and his son informed him that he heard the shot, and thought he heard a deer "go down" afterwards. Tremba said he thought he shot an 8-point, but didn't see the rack well. He said, "I don't think it was big enough to mount, so don't get excited!"
After waiting an hour to give the buck time to expire, the two hunters met up and immediately found where the arrow had hit the buck. There was plenty of blood and they followed it 60 yards until the hill dropped off -- the last place Tremba saw the buck standing. And there on the other side of the hill was the buck -- but this was no 8-Point.
Tremba's son sprinted over to the monster and said; My God dad, I have never seen a buck like this. How did you ever mistake this for an 8-Point? He has 8 points just on one side!"
Tremba said he knew it was a shooter and never looked again. But if he had known it was this big, he could not have waited another hour to track it! The buck had a giant rack and a giant body. But Tremba still did not know just how big this buck was.
After taking photos and cutting up the deer, Tremba decided to find out how to get it scored. He didn't know how to find someone to do it, so he went over to the local Gander Mountain and saw sign for the Northeast Big Buck Club (NBBC). He got the name of local scorer -- Bruce Walkovich -- and contacted him. Bruce green scored it green at 183 inches. Bruce kept telling Tremba about how big it was and how impressive it was, and Tremba started to realize just how special the buck was.
He later contacted the PA Game Commission and found out that it was the 11th largest buck since they started keeping records. But Tremba was quick to point out that if it wasn't for Bruce and the NBBC, he would have had no idea how big the deer was.
Tremba's monster 14-Point grossed 183 1/8 non-typical, and netted 181 1/8, according to the NBBC. That's right -- just 2 inches of asymmetry deductions! The buck had 10 scorable typical points, and four abnormal points. The typical rack grossed 166 7/8" -- a very impressive total to a 10-Point. The main beams were over 26 inches each, and the longest tines on each side were over 11 inches. Quite an impressive rack!
But Tremba's wasn't the only big buck taken in PA in 2009...
"THERE I WAS!" -- THE WES OSBORNE BUCK
"There I was..." Finally, Osborne could utter the phrase. You see, a friend of his once spoke those words after connecting with his first wild boar, and the phrase kind of "stuck." Osborne's family and friends used it ever since that day any time a family member told a story after connecting on something they were longing for. Didn't matter if it was a husky musky, a trophy bear, a tom turkey or a monster buck. This time, it would be Osborne who started his story with, "There I was..."
Osborne's long quest for a monster buck began way back in 1977. He had killed plenty of deer since those early days hunting with his dad and Grand-dad in Pennsylvania -- and 50 of those deer had been bucks -- but never the "big one." He and his family had plenty of wall hangers to be proud of, but after more than 30 years of pursuing his quarry Osborne had y
et to shoot a real monster. Although, he had his chances...
Osborne comes from a hunting family. Not only his dad and granddad, but his mom, brother, wife and two sons are hunters. The family purchased and leased several small tracts of land in several different counties over the last 30 years, but it was a property purchased in 2003 that would be a first critical step to fulfilling Osborne's quest.
This small, 68-acre farm produced several good bucks for Osborne and his family, including a 130-class 8-point for his wife. And they felt confident that a monster buck could be roaming this small tract. In 2008 their confidence turned into reality when Osborne encountered a giant non-typical on the 2nd to last day of the 14-day rifle season. Unfortunately he missed the buck, and he thought he might have blown his one and only chance.
The next spring, Osborne found a shed while helping the local Game Commission prepare for a youth turkey hunt on his property. The 7-point shed was the right side of the monster buck he had missed earlier, and Osborne now knew the buck was still alive. He was determined to get another chance!
If AT First You Don't Succeed . . .
Osborne searched for the other shed to no avail, and got no trail camera photos of the buck, but he remained confident. He entered the 2009 archery season with that confidence, and was rewarded with a sighting of the monster (albeit at over 300 yards!) during the first week of the season. He was alive and well, and bigger than ever.
Osborne hunted this farm exclusively and passed on some other great bucks in hopes of getting a chance at redemption. His family thought he was losing his mind, but this buck was all he could think about.
And again, late in the bow season, he was rewarded. The buck came out one evening chasing a doe and fighting with a big 8-Point. Finally, after gut-wrenching action, he gave Osborne a marginal shot at 40 yards. Concerned he may never get another chance, Osborne tried to squeeze his arrow through a narrow shooting window. But once again fate protected the monster non-typical: Osborne's arrow bounced off a twig, and the buck walked off. Unbelievable -- two chances at the same monster buck, and twice he came up empty. Dejected as he was, there was no chance Osborne was going to give up...
Third Time's The Charm
Opening day of the 2009 rifle season found Osborne in the exact same stand where he had missed the monster buck during archery season, where he missed the buck during 2008, and where he found the shed from 2008. Osborne was determined to get this buck! His granddad and dad taught him great patience and determination, and he needed every bit of it.
His wife and son were both hunting the property with him, and the morning was relatively quiet for all of them. Osborne saw some small bucks and one small 8-point in the morning, but nothing worth shooting.
At about 2 p.m. Osborne's wife saw the monster buck running in the direction of the stands that Osborne and his son occupied, but she was not able to get a shot. And neither man saw the buck in the early afternoon. At 4:10 p.m. some deer started filtering into the field near Osborne, and by 4:40 he had twenty deer within view, including ten bucks, and five that would be legal 8-point shooters.
But Osborne knew those bucks would be "safe" this day. He would wait for a third chance at the big boy.
Osborne had been on stand for about eleven hours, and he was losing confidence as rapidly as the sky was losing light. But at 4:50 a huge antler "appeared" with the does in the field -- it was the big buck. The buck was with several yearlings, and Osborne waited for the small bucks to clear. As the monster worked his way to about 80 yards, Osborne calmly encouraged his inner-hunter to seek redemption for the two previous missed opportunities, and to close the deal this time. He raised his Browning .338 Win. Mag. and squeezed the trigger. And this time, the buck dropped in his tracks. Mercifully, the third time was the charm.
Osborne covered the distance from the stand to the buck in record time. In fact his son, who was 150 yards away from the scene, witnessed the "orange blob" streaking across the field. The big buck was a sight to see, and finally... finally... Osborne had his monster. There he was!
Osborne's buck is very impressive. He dressed a whopping 220 lbs. The buck was officially scored by B&C Scorer Albert Dewald after 60 days, compiling a gross score of 177 5/8 and a net score of 169 5/8. He had 20 points, 14 of which were scorable, with 11 typical and 3 non-typical points. His inside spread was 20 3/8 inches, and his beams were respectable at 24 4/8- and 22 3/8-inches.
The buck's tine length was excellent, with his longest tine at 11 4/8 inches and a total of four tines over 9 inches. The buck had bases of 4 5/8 and 5 5/8 inches. Overall the buck was the second largest gross-scoring PA buck of 2009 that had been officially scored by the Northeast Big Buck Club as of the writing of this article, right behind Bill Tremba's monster.
These great bucks will certainly be among the best taken in this state in 2009, and undoubtedly will be the best and most memorable bucks Tremba and Osborne will ever take.
For Tremba, next time he tells his son he shot an 8-Point, he won't believe it! And the next time someone asks Osborne to tell the story of this big buck, he can start the story by saying, "There I was..." He now had the story and the big buck he had been longing for.
For more information about great bucks like this one, contact the Northeast Big Buck Club, or to purchase their latest record book -- Northeast Trophy Whitetails -- visit their website at www.bigbuckclub.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can write to NBBC, 390 Marshall Street, Paxton, MA 01612.