Local bowhunter gets one big, old buck at Marion Reservoir

When Roger Ashley, Lehigh, and his fiance, Grace, went out to Marion Reservoir hunting for her first deer on Nov. 1, he got more than he bargained for?a trophy buck he said green-scored at 181 inches, with 21 points, non-typical.

But that?s not even the half of it. Based on its teeth, Ashley said the animal was between 10 and 11 years old.

Bryan Sorensen, Public Land Wildlife Biologist Technologist at the Marion Wildlife Area said that ?For a deer to make it past 3.5 or 4.5 years of age around here is probably pretty rare due to the high hunting pressure.?

Sorensen also noted a deer assumed to be 9.5 years old died recently on Quivira Wildlife Refuge.

So there is no question: this buck was, as Ashley?s buddies teased him, a bit of an antique.

?The first thing they said was, ?When you shot him, did he trip on his cane?? and ?Get him at the old folks home???that kind of thing,? Ashley said.

The rest of the story, in his words:

?My intention was to leave my bow at home and call, and draw the attention of the deer, so she could shoot her first deer,? he said. ?She insisted I bring my bow to back her up, and I thought, OK.

?The first place we started to go to, not far from Lehigh, there were some guys hunting duck,? he continued. ?So I said to her, ?It?s your call, where do you want to go.? She said the reservoir.

?A couple years ago, I shot a real nice doe out there, and as we went in, there was good, fresh tracks. We set up a spot with a little something for her to sit on, and I directed her to where the deer would probably come out.

?I was standing right behind her up next to a tree, watching for anything to sneak up behind us. We were out there about 30 minutes. Then?I hear this sound, and turn around real slow and see him coming along the treeline at the edge of the field.

?I tap Grace on the back and whisper to her and she?s looking real hard across the field. But the deer is right by us. By the time she sees where he is at, he has already passed where she could shoot at him. So up until then, I?m just trying to help her get her deer. But when it was obvious she couldn?t shoot, instinct took over,? he said.

Ashley drew and fired at a target no more than 13 yards away.

?My arrow hit right where my pin was, and he ran out of there right by me, within eight yards,? he said. ?I couldn?t believe it. My legs went out from under me, I hyperventilated for like 10 minutes, and finally I said ?Can you believe what we just did???

They found him a little more than 100 yards away.

?I knew it was a big deer, but still no idea how big,? he said. ?I went back and measured?I dragged him 45 yards and loaded him up. I?m sure adrenaline took care of most of that.?

They spent the rest of the day with their trophy buck, which they plan to preserve. They got one for Grace later that week.

?She joked that I got mine at the geriatric ward and she got hers at the pediatric ward,? Ashley said.

To report a trophy deer in the Free Press, submit a photo and pertinent information via email to staff@hillsborofreepress.com.

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