A New York state record has officially been set for a 214-inch non-typical archery buck, killed back in early November.
In Niagara County, New York, Phillip Pless took down a 214-inch whitetail with his bow and arrow on November 8th. The buck also boasted an 18-point drop-tine.
After a drying period, the whitetail was officially scored and declared New York’s champion late last month.
“I had no idea it might be a state record,” Pless says. “I didn’t even know what the state record was. It’s not something I ever dreamed would happen.”
Practice Makes Perfect
Pless started his hunt for the massive buck last summer but had been eyeing it for over four years. The hunter would occasionally see the large animal in a nearby cornfield while scouting out the area in his ATV.
“He was big in years past but got a lot bigger this year, obviously,” Pless says. “I’m not someone who can look at a rack and tell you how many inches it is. I had no idea what he’d score. I just knew he was big.”
The deer in question boasted 214-2/8, which is nearly four inches better than the previous state-record.
He spent every day shooting dozens of arrows up to 70 yards away, just to perfect his aim in case he ever got the opportunity to kill the beloved buck.
“I’d shoot five or six arrows from 20 yards, then go check the target. I kept at it until I was satisfied, then I’d move back to 30,” Pless said about the tedious process.
Lucky Day to Kill a Buck
He had been watching the buck chase around doe for over thirty minutes during the rutting season. As sunset inched closer and closer, Pless worried that he would miss his opportunity to kill the prized animal.
“The buck disappeared back into the woods, but the doe he was following stayed in the field,” he recalls. “I was watching and watching, and finally he came back out and started feeding. I tried my grunt call, but it didn’t faze him: He’d just raise his head and go back to eating. After three or four tries, I hung it up. He was slowly and surely coming to me.”
The whitetail was hit on Pless’s wife’s family farm near Appleton, New York, just a few miles from Lake Ontario. Pless shot his bow and killed the deer with ease at just 50-yards away when the deer calmed down and came within range, with only five minutes left of legal shooting time.
“Normally, I don’t shoot out past 40 yards,” Pless says, “but this year, I made a point of practicing out to 70 because I’d been watching this buck and was anticipating a long shot.”
It must have been fate. Pless didn’t even have intentions to go hunting on November 8th. He has hunted there for over two weeks and had no luck. However, the hunter had a good feeling about that Sunday.
“I had a gut feeling that I was gonna see something,” he says, “so I decided to go out.”
Boone & Crockett measured the five and a half year old as an 18-point non-typical buck grossed 221 3/8 inches and netted 214 2/8. It was pronounced the largest in New York state taken with a bow.
[H/T Field & Stream]