Pennsylvania Hunter Tags Huge Buck-Tine Drop-Tine Public-Land
Four years ago, John Raubenstrauch spotted a 10 point buck on a field edge near his home in Elk County, Pa., And knew the male was destined to be a dandy. He spotted the deer intermittently over the following years, and each time his hunch was confirmed.
“Two years ago it exploded and got huge,” the 51-year-old hunter said. Outdoor living. “I installed surveillance cameras to try to learn his habits. It was hard, because he was a loner. But I stayed with him using my cameras and took lots of pictures of him.
Raubenstrauch and his hunting companions, who have children, involve young people as much as possible in the hunt. When the children saw pictures of the huge buck, they named the deer “Soup”, he says, because two large teeth on his unusual holder flare out like a pair of tablespoons.
This spring, Raubenstrauch began exploring Soup in earnest, in an area where a friend had found the goat sheds. The male moved often and Raubenstrauch stayed on the hunt, often walking in the woods and jumping the male to find out where he lived, slept, fed and traveled.
Raubenstrauch eventually identified the male’s activity on public land, at the edge of the rugged and wild Allegheny National Forest northeast of Pittsburgh.
“He lived on top of a hill in a thick layer of impenetrable laurel,” says Raubenstrauch. “It’s a place where you can’t even crawl. It only came out once every four days to feed on acorns, which I learned from my surveillance cameras.
Raubenstrauch decided that the afternoon of October 25 was his best chance to catch Soup outside the Laurel Grove. He tried to get a friend’s son to hunt with him for soup, because the kids were so familiar with money from the photos. But the boy intended to hunt with his grandfather.
So Raubenstrauch hunted alone that afternoon, just sitting on the ground near the laurel tangles, watching the acorns rain down on the top of the nearby hill. Shortly after 6 p.m. Soup cautiously stepped out of the leafy bay laurel jungle, and he was even taller than Raubenstrauch had imagined. The male stared at Raubenstrauch for a while, then finally dropped his head for nuts. It was at this point that Raubenstrauch raised his CenterPoint crossbow and sent a 100-grain fixed 3-blade Muzzy Trocar arrowhead within 30 yards.
“I saw the arrow fly with a Lumenok notch and I knew it looked like a good shot,” he says. “But I was scared to check out where Soup was standing when he jumped in on the laurels. So I went home.
Raubenstrauch returned 30 minutes later with five friends and six of their children. The crew arrived at the spot where Soup had been hit and found the male almost immediately. The deer had only traveled 50 yards, falling after a two-lunged shot.
“Everyone knew it was Soup, and they were delighted to see and touch the male,” says Raubenstrauch.
The soup weighed 240 pounds on the ground dressed. He has 16 scoring points and the members of his archery club have collectively marked the buck as atypical at 205 6/8 inches. Raubenstrauch has reached out to Pennsylvania gaming officials about the money, and they believe he will score even bigger, peaking in the state’s record books. The soup will be officially rated after the 60 day drying period.
“He’s a big cock, and we think he’s 7.5 years old,” says Raubenstrauch. “Looks like Soup broke something in his antlers when he was velor, giving his right side such a big girth.”