Original Story 10 - 18 -2006
The buck that John Schmucker killed the opening day of bow season is pictured above.
After deductions, its rack scored an amazing 295-7/8 (preliminary).
The Amish Buck
By TOM CROSS
The Amish buck had a home and John Schmucker knew his address. Having observed the old buck for the past three years, the buck had grown in both size and notoriety.
Knowledge of the buck was a little kept secret within the Amish community on Wheat Ridge in Adams County. Only a few hunters outside the Amish community knew of the buck's existence, and they weren't talking, either. It became the secret of Wheat Ridge, spoken only within the hushed gatherings of a few local Amish deer hunters who had personally seen the old buck and its magnificent rack.
Dave Raber, who is a neighbor to Schmucker, said even though the buck was well known within the community, he was confident if the buck survived the hunting season, it would find safety during the offseason within the farmland of the Amish community.
"We knew where the deer was staying, and it was surrounded by Amish farms," said Raber. "So we knew no one within the Amish community would poach him and the buck would be protected."
The first time Schmucker saw the buck was in August of 2004 standing in a 22-acre hayfield not far from his home. John observed the deer only three times during that late August and early September. "Same hayfield," said Schmucker.
In 2005, John again saw the buck, two evenings in a row, in the same hayfield as the previous year.
"We never saw the deer during the summer, just in late August or early September standing in the same hayfield," said John, "And, then never saw him again the rest of the year."
During 2006, Schmucker observed the big buck on numerous occasions.
"This year I saw him in May, and the hayfield is now a bean field and he was just starting to get his rack," said Schmucker. "I didn't see him again until early July, and then I didn't see him until the rack was pretty much done growing the last of July. During August and September I saw him almost every night come out into the same bean field and feed. I would climb up on the barn roof in the evenings and watch for him. If he was out there, you could see him"
"Out of a week I probably saw him five times," said Schmucker. "He never came out of the same corner, maybe one night the buck would come out at one end, then the next night the deer came out the other end. There was a corn field with woods on both sides I figured he stayed in, sometimes the buck came out of the woods, sometimes out of the corn."
John would usually observe the buck during the summer evenings. "Usually just before dark, sometimes he would come out 7, 7:30, and a lot of time you could only see him for 15 to 20 minutes before it was two dark."
"Not everybody saw the deer, only four of us saw him in 2006," said John, "There was another Amish hunter who had seen him that was after him, but he hadn't started hunting yet."
John was the first one to see the deer in 2004, and then a neighbor saw the buck cross a road that same year while riding in a truck. By 2006, and after several sightings, word of the Amish buck spread around the community and drew the attention of several local deer hunters. Everybody who hunted knew something was in the wind. John said he knew of three Amish hunters and three other non-Amish hunters who were after the buck.
"You would see the deer during late summer but the buck always disappeared come fall," said Schmucker. "He would hunker down somewhere or go nocturnal."
John said the buck left plenty of big rubs and scrapes during the 2005 hunting season. "So I knew he was there," said Schmucker. "Where I saw the deer during the summer was the same place I would see his sign during the fall."
Other then observing the buck at a distance, Schmucker never intruded on the corn or bean field during the summer of 2006. "I just stayed out of there; I didn't go into the woods until opening day that evening."
Rain on that opening Saturday morning, September 30, of Ohio's bow season had canceled out work for the day. "So I was driving [working] my horse until noon," said Schmucker. "It was the first time we had him hooked to a buggy."
Around noon Schmucker was finished with the horse, and prepared to go hunting that evening. "It was probably about three thirty when I got everything ready to go and it took about 20 minutes to get back there," said Schmucker.
"I kind of knew the area I wanted to be in, but I had to wait to get back there to find a tree I wanted to climb." Schmucker had carried his climbing stand and his second hand crossbow to the edge of the bean field in a fence row near where he had observed the buck so many times that summer.
"I spent a few minutes locating a tree," said John, "and I quickly picked the best available tree and went about 18 feet up. There was one branch I had to clear from the shooting lane. I hoisted my equipment up and sat down; I was ready to go by 4:30."
"Around five o'clock I saw two small bucks," said Schmucker, "a six pointer and a small eight pointer about 100 yards away come into the bean field. It was windy, cloudy, overcast, and sprinkling rain."
About a half hour later another small buck, a three pointer, came into the bean field. "During the summer I would watch this small three point buck come out first, and then the big one would follow about five minutes later," said Schmucker. "When I saw the three pointer come out, I knew the big one was close by."
"The small buck came out of the corn field into the woods and then jumped the fence into the bean field about 5:30 to feed," said Schmucker. "After the small buck came out the big one followed about five minutes later and he came through the corn and jumped the fence right into the bean field"
According to Schmucker, about 70 yards separated the big buck from the six and eight pointer already feeding in the field. "Then the big buck picked up his head, checked the wind and started feeding. After a while the six and eight pointer started to feed closer to the bigger buck."
"When the eight pointer got close, the big buck stretched out his neck looking at him, and the other one came up to smell him," said Schmucker. "That's when the big one made a threatening lunge at the eight pointer and started chasing both small bucks and that's when they started heading my way."
The three deer left in the bean field calmly walked and fed toward John, with the big one feeding and intently watching the eight pointer.
"The big one came toward the eight pointer, I figured he was going to chase him the way he was acting," said Schmucker. "He was feeding, watching the eight pointer, and slowly coming my way."
The buck gets into the opening at the edge of the bean field and John levels the crosshairs of his crossbow scope on the deer, "It didn't take me long to take the shot."
The deer twisted and bolted to Johns left and then took out across the bean field, the remaining smaller bucks ran for a short distance along the fence row then stopped. A tree blocked John's view of the buck he had just shot but he could see the other bucks looking toward the big one as it ran across the field.
"The smaller bucks started stopping their feet and snorted, I heard a crash out in the bean field and then they took off," said Schmucker. "It looked like a good shot."
After five minutes John got out of stand and walked over to where he had made the shot. "I found the arrow about two feet beyond where the buck was standing"
After Schmucker found the arrow which confirmed he had made a good hit, he gathered up his equipment and tree stand, and returned home. "I called my brother in law, Gary Miller, and he came over, and my neighbor and his boy came over to help me too," said Schmucker. "Then we walked back to where I made the shot and started to follow the blood trail. About eighty yards from where I shot him he was piled up."
Word spread fast throughout the small tightly knit Amish community that the big buck had been taken. "For three days solid I had a lot of people over here," said Schmucker.
Schmucker called a neighbor to help take the deer to a checking station in Peebles. When John returned from the check station a large crowd of people had gathered. "I could barely get in the driveway," said Schmucker, "as soon as we got in and got the deer out of the truck everybody was right there taking pictures and admiring the deer. It was about 11:30 that night before I could finally skin the deer out."
For three days people came from all over Adams County and neighboring counties to see the massive buck that John Schmucker had taken, as word of the big Amish buck spread rapidly across the local deer hunting community.
The buck was green scored two days later by Jason Schrock, an official scorer for the Ohio Buckeye Big Buck Club. The buck's gross green score was 304 non-typical, it had 36 score-able points, an inside spread of 26-2/8 inches, after deductions the rack scored an amazing 295-7/8. After a 60 day drying period the deer will be officially scored by a panel of scorers from the Buckeye Big Buck Club.
It hasn't quite sunk into John Schmucker that he has taken a buck so large that it will rank as one of the top whitetails of all time. "Every time I seen him I think is this actually the one that was walking around back there," said Schmucker. "Its just now sinking in that I really did get the big one."
(Dec. 13, 2006) This free-ranging whitetail buck has recently been officially scored at 300 6/8 gross and 291 2/8 net non-typical. It also has a Buckmasters composite score of 305 4/8 (including inside spread of 25-inches).
This score puts it No. 2 all-time for the state of Ohio and the largest buck taken with a crossbow for Ohio (state record). The John Schmucker “Amish Buck” is the No. 2 in the world for crossbow behind Jerry Bryant’s monster non-typical Illinois buck from 2001, which Boone and Crockett lists a score of 304 3/8.
If you would like to read the story about the Amish Buck, the full story has been posted on the Ohio Division of Wildlife web site.
This is quoted directly from the Ohio Division of Wildlife web site:
ADAMS COUNTY NON-TYPICAL SCORES BIG
Southwestern Ohio is home to the top typical and nontypical deer killed in Ohio