Editor's note: This is part of an occasional hunting series
BENNINGTON -- While the state has touted the health of Vermont's deer herd, at least one local hunter prefers Massachusetts.
Lee Dufresne, of Bennington, said he shot his latest buck, an eight-point white tail that weighed in at 242 pounds, on Oct. 26 at 4:17 p.m., this after he entered the woods on the Lanesborough side of Mt. Greylock at 5:30 a.m.
Dufresne grew up hunting and learned to track deer, bucks specifically, from his grandfather, Exaid "Ecky" Dufresne. He dedicated this deer to the late Ecky Dufresne because the buck's behavior was "textbook," according to what his grandfather taught him.
He had been eyeing the buck since at least last season. Dufresne said he used game cameras to learn the deer's habits, and on the day he shot it he had followed a smaller deer into the area of the woods where the big buck likely sleeps.
The shot was made from about nine feet away.
"The arrow passed right through his heart," Dufresne said. The deer, as they sometimes do, did not realize it had been shot through with an arrow. It took about 10 steps, turned its head, then fell as it took another step.
In bow hunting, unlike rifle hunting, one typically dresses in full camouflage and often makes use of a tree stand. Dufresne was on the ground this time, but was dressed in a camouflage suit of his own design and using a scent killer also of his own make. Dufresne is the owner of "Elusion Camo" and has been trying to market his various patterns, which he says are highly effective at blending the wearer into his or her surroundings.
The deer is also special to Dufresne because it is the second largest he has shot with a bow and arrow. He plans to have it officially scored by the Pope and Young Club, a national bow hunting and conservation organization according to its website. Dufresne said the deer has more than 150 inches of antler, which is unusual for one with only eight points. The way the club scores, he said, looks at how many inches of antler the animal has compared to how many points, and it also looks at symmetry between the antlers.
He plans to have this deer turned into a front shoulder mount. Dufresne said he does not hunt with antlers in mind, but goes for deer high in weight. He butchers his own game, and said this one will prove a challenge because of the extra body fat. Dufresne believes the deer to be five and a half years old, and based on its size has eaten well its entire life.
Dufresne said he used to hunt in Vermont, but feels the way the state has managed the deer herd, specifically by encouraging the harvest of does, has made the herd smaller and less healthy.
His advice to other hunters is to go deep into the woods, away from others, and because the woods this year is rich in food one can not stop at finding a food source with tracks, one has to look for signs the deer are actually eating there, such as scat, and not simply passing through.
Archery deer season in Vermont ended last weekend; however, it starts again on Dec. 7 along with muzzleloader season and runs to Dec. 15. Massachusetts archery deer season began Oct. 21 and goes to Nov. 30.
The Banner would like to publish more deer hunting stories, particularly local ones, given the upcoming youth and rifle seasons. If you think you have a good one, email Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 802-447-7567, ext. 115.