Gulf Conflict Vet Smashes New York State Whitetail File with 214-Inch Monster Buck

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Pless already shows its record money in November (left). The huge base bracket is almost ready for the living room. (Phillip Pless /)

Stay tuned to F&S.com for more cash like this 225-inch giant from Indiana, those late-season bruises, and the Biggest Money of 2020.

It is official. New York has a new, non-typical archery goat. Bowhunter Phillip Pless whistled the 18-point drop tine monster on November 8, and the rack was officially scored and declared a new record late last month.

However, the hunt for this giant whitetail began last summer in archery. You know the joke about the tourist asking the New Yorker how to get to Carnegie Hall, right? Practice, practice, practice. Maybe a stupid punchline, but it was a smart strategy for Pless, whose practice schedule of shooting dozens of arrows every day at distances of up to 70 meters pays off with money that is no joke: the huge, non-typical, officially net 214-2 / ​​8, nearly 4 inches better than the previous state record mark.

The Hunt for the New York State Record Non-Typical Whitetail


Pless took a 50 yard shot to raise this incredible cash. (Phillip Pless /)

Pless took the money on his wife’s family farm near Appleton, New York, just a few miles from Lake Ontario. He closed the deal with a 50 yard shot after watching the great deer hunt for more than half an hour. He waited nervously as the clock ticked towards sunset and the whitetail crossed a cut cornfield before finally coming within range with less than five minutes of legal shooting time remaining.

“I don’t normally shoot more than 40 meters,” says Pless, “but this year I set myself the goal of practicing at 70 because I had watched this buck and was expecting a long shot.”

Imagine checking an SD card and seeing these two images in a row.


Imagine checking an SD card and seeing these two images in a row. (Phillip Pless /)

Pless first spotted the deer on his rear cameras four years ago. He only got a few photos in 2019, but in 2020 the deer appeared more frequently on the 50-acre farm. In the summer he occasionally watched the buck feed outside, and while driving his ATV he encountered the deer in two patches of forest that flanked the grain field, where he eventually shot the buck.

“It was big in the past few years, but obviously got a lot bigger this year,” says Pless. “I’m not someone who can look at a rack and tell you how many inches it is. I had no idea what he was going to achieve. I just knew he was big. “

A trail cam photo from August 2020 left no doubt how big that money had gotten.
A trail cam photo from August 2020 left no doubt how big that money had gotten. (Phillip Pless /)

He built a target stand and used spray paint to mark the mileage on his practice area. He bought a new sight for his bow. Then he got busy. “I would shoot five or six arrows from twenty yards and then check the target. I stuck with it until I was satisfied, then went back to 30. ”It went up to 70 yards until Pless was confident he could take an ethical shot past his previous comfort zone of 40 yards.

Father shares the celebration with daughter Grace and son Liam.
Father shares the celebration with daughter Grace and son Liam. (Phillip Pless /)

On November 8th, Pless had no intention of hunting. He had chased the same tree stand every day for two weeks in a tree line overlooking the recently harvested cornfield. But that Sunday his wife Elizabeth had errands to run and Pless had to babysit daughter Grace, 3, and son Liam, 2. There was also a Buffalo Bills game on TV. But when his wife returned at halftime, Buffalo had the game in hand. “I felt like I was going to see something,” he says, “so I decided to go out.”

At around 3:15 a.m., he sat down in the stands. Shortly afterwards, Elizabeth sent him a text: She had taken the children to the farm for a walk. Pless told her she was coming back and he would wave to them from afar.

He had just hung up the phone when he saw the money.

A series of cell phone photos that Pless had taken of his tree stand when the goat first appeared.
A series of cell phone photos that Pless had taken of his tree stand when the goat first appeared. (Phillip Pless /)

About 150 yards away the great whitetail had just followed a deer to the grassy edge of the cornfield. Pless took a picture with his cell phone, sent it to his wife so she could avoid the field, and got ready.

Long shot, short rest

Pless celebrates after finding the giant whitetail.
Pless celebrates after finding the giant whitetail. (Phillip Pless /)

“The buck disappeared back into the forest, but the deer it was following stayed in the field,” he recalls. “I watched and watched and eventually he came out and started feeding. I tried my grunt, but he didn’t mind: he just raised his head and went back to eat. After three or four tries, I hung up. “

Everything loaded into the truck.
Everything loaded into the truck. (Phillip Pless /)

Three more came in at a different location and pulled the deer further away from the tree stand. Meanwhile the first deer was slowly walking towards Pless. At that moment one of the three the buck had smelled kicked him and he gave up and made his way back to the first deer. She was now 70 meters from Pless and moving on a line that would bring her within 50 meters of the money directly behind her.

“He came to me slowly and surely. He paused and sniffed around, bowed his head to eat, then went back on her trail. But it felt like forever. The shooting hours were almost over and I was afraid that I wouldn’t get a chance until then. “

A closer look from the tailgate.
A closer look from the tailgate. (Phillip Pless /)

About four minutes before the end of legal light, the dollar was finally on the broadside at 50. Pless never had a chance to get up. “I had to take the shot sitting down,” he says – the only thing he hadn’t practiced. The buck ducked when the shot was fired, and the arrow struck just above the right shoulder, most likely severing the carotid artery: through binoculars he watched the deer run away with its tail pinched, stop at the edge of the field, and collapse.

Pless hired family and friends to pull and load his huge bucks.
Pless hired family and friends to pull and load his huge bucks. (Phillip Pless /)

“I swore like a seaman – and I was a seaman,” says Pless of the adrenaline rush that brought him through phone calls to his wife, father and rescue team: brother Jason Pless, nephew Connor Pless and friends Kevin Austin and Scott Pipiles. They came to help the disabled Navy veteran, who was doing two tours of the Gulf aboard a guided missile frigate, pull out the £ 250 and put it in the field.

Official Goalscorer Says: New State Record Not typical Bow Buck

Pless' great unusual is officially rated.
Pless’ great unusual is officially rated. (Phillip Pless /)

Pless taxidermist Tim Young told him to prepare for lots of attention, but it wasn’t until Boone & Crockett surveyor Don Haseley got a green score that Pless suspected his money could be more than a personal best. “I had no idea that it could be a state record,” says Pless. “I didn’t even know what the state record was. I never dreamed that it would happen. “

Pless' trophy holder, ready to be picked up from the taxidermy.
Pless’ trophy holder, ready to be picked up from the taxidermy. (Phillip Pless /)

But when the measurement was complete and the score was high, Pless’ 5½ year old, not typical 18 point buck scored 221 3/8 inches and scored 214 2/8, making him a 210-4 / 8 inch 23 – exceeded. Pointer killed by Mike Giarraputo of Suffolk County in 2011 and his place as the largest atypical buck ever taken with an arch in New York State.

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