I have been an avid hunter my whole life but never got into archery hunting until I bought my first compound bow last year.
I spent last fall in the woods witnessing my first rut and became instantly hooked.
Although I wasn’t successful in harvesting an archery buck last fall, the experience of being in the woods during that time was like no other.
Fast forward to last Thursday morning when I got a picture on my trail cam of this massive buck. He was nothing like I had ever seen on that property before, so I knew I had to go after him.
That Friday after work, I got out a little later than I wanted to, and the woods were already boiling with movement. I quickly got set up in my stand and saw some doe running around. Then, out of nowhere, I heard something crashing through the field, chasing hard after the doe.
I finally spotted the cause of the chaos when he was about 70 yards away. The doe kept luring him closer and closer to me, and when he was finally 40 yards away, I got a better look at him.
I saw 3 points on one side and could tell he was pretty heavy, but I had no idea he was the one I saw on camera just the day before. I was shaking but held it together as he crept closer and closer, and he finally stepped out at 20 yards broadside, and I knew I had to have him.
I pulled back my compound bow, took my shot, and watched as the arrow made a clean pass straight through. He walked for 20 yards and then fell down, not moving at all. I knew then that all of my hard work and practice leading up to this moment paid off as it was a clean, ethical kill, and the beautiful beast did not suffer.
I waited the customary hour just to be safe, and then, thankfully, my friend Alex Welch, Uncle Tom, and my father Woody Fry came to help me get the buck out of the woods.
It wasn’t until we walked up to him lying there that I knew I had harvested my target buck.
Catching him on camera the day before, witnessing him chasing doe in front of me, and then being able to harvest him was a full-circle moment for me.
It was an incredible end to my season in the PA woods and a very memorable first archery buck.
By Zach Fry