Bleech: A Big Buck Falls Pre-Rut

"Hap" Albaugh took his first Pennsylvania deer in 1937 at the age of 16 years, and his first buck the following year. He has now harvested deer in nine different decades.

The now 89-year-old hunter knows that early October in the Big Woods of Pennsylvania is too early to use tactics related to rutting. He was hunting a funnel that leads from the bottom of a steep ridge to a pond part way up the ridge on October 6 when thus big 8-point buck stepped into view. He dropped it with his crossbow. The buck has an outside spread of 22 inches. Live weight was estimated to be about 200 pounds, a huge buck for the Big Woods.

Albaugh took a 7-point buck in about the same place last year. He has been using the same Tenpoint crossbow since he was 76 years old, when arthritis prevented him from drawing his compound bow.

Albaugh has passed the hunting tradition to his daughter and two sons. Daughter Julie, who has already taken her buck this year, happened to be in the area so she helped to field dress the deer. It was too heavy to lift onto his four-wheeler so he had to go home and return with a trailer.

And one rut-related note: Hap's son, Scott Albaugh, was bowhunting this week when he watched a doe urinate three times into a mock scrape he had doctored with Tink's Power Scrape.