Derek Herbert lived out every deer hunter’s dream when bagged one of the state’s biggest bucks last October.
The New York native has devoted his days and dollars to hunting whitetails. The 27-year-old carpenter fell in love with the sport at 16 when his dad introduced him to hunting.
Based in Hunting, New York, Herbert spends every ounce of his free time hunting, usually on suburban tracts of land that are mostly 20 acres or less.
In Nov 2019, Herbert got the chance of a lifetime when a giant, world-class buck appeared on his trail camera, which he nicknamed “split G4,” signifying the buck’s 10-point classification.
However, it would be a year in the making before Herbert would take his shot.
In 2020, Herbert spent hours scouting locations for trail cameras to study the legendary buck’s habits.
In August, Herbert built a ground blind on a hillside out of cedar boughs and brush where the Split G4 initially appeared on the camera.
However, disappointment set in after Herbert hadn’t seen the buck all summer.
Hunter Takes Shot at New York’s Monster Buck
On Halloween 2020, Herbert set out to in hopes of shooting a 150-class buck that lived in the area. However, the deer weren’t moving so he decided to check out his cameras instead.
To his delight, when he looked at the footage, he saw several pictures of his buck. After going home for a quick bite, Herbert returned to in the afternoon and settled into his blind.
After being in the blind for nearly two hours, Herbert arrowed a 130-class, nine-pointer. As he was on the phone with his brother to tell him about his buck, he heard another deer approaching through the grass behind him.
“I just had a gut feeling it was Split G4,” says Herbert. “I heard his antlers on a branch and knew he was working a ground scrape about 50 yards away.”
After working the scrape, the buck started to walk off, so Herbert made a few grunts, and the buck began walking back towards him in curiosity.
“It seemed like 30 minutes because the buck was approaching very cautiously but it was more like five minutes,” Herbert said. “He was in that tall grass and I knew he was close, but I just couldn’t see him.”
Now, just ten yards separated the two as Herbert and Split G4 met face-to-face for the first time after months of anticipation.
As Split G4 had its head in the air, Herbert came to full draw and stood up. The buck threw his head back in the hunter’s direction, but Herbert had him.
“On impact it took off through the brush plowing down saplings and disappeared,” says Herbert. “Then the woods fell silent and I knew he crashed.”
Herbert’s 10-pointer came in at 227 pounds and officially scored 197 4/8-inches. Its official net score is 191 3/8 inches.
“I was so excited that I was literally sick to my stomach,” says Herbert. “The buck’s antlers and body were much larger than I anticipated.”
Herbert set a new state record as the buck is now the new No. 1 typical bow kill in New York. Not since 1939 has a New York hunter has had a kill of this magnitude.