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"Stephanie's Arizona Trophy Archery Buck"
Photo provided by: Stephanie May Babbit

Stephanie May Babbitt did quite well on her Arizona archery hunt. What a sweet buck!

The Brow-tine Bully

Stephanie writes, "On October 1, 2010, I thought I had reached the peak of my archery career, when I harvested a beautiful 6x6 bull elk at sixty-two yards during the rut. A month and a half later, I happily found out how wrong I was.

It was a cold morning sitting in our ground blind we’d built while scouting. I refused to wear my jacket, knowing it would compromise my shot if I were to get one. It wasn’t too long before my husband fell asleep in the blind, (something he always makes fun of me about to our hunting friends) so my path was clear. To even the score, I took a picture on my phone and sent it to anyone and everyone he had ever thrown me under the bus to. While sending my teasing text, I notice three does, not 15 yards from me, coming into the water we were sitting. They caught our wind and bolted, crashing into trees and waking my faithful hunting partner Ted.

We decide after a bit to go walk a ridge we had seen deer on while scouting. We found a lot of fresh deer sign, but no deer. On the way back to our truck we spooked a few does and one nice buck, but unfortunately, I was unable to get a shot. We returned to sit the blind after a short bite for lunch. With full stomachs, Ted and I decide to take a healthy nap to make sure we were bright eyed and bushy-tailed for primetime.
At ten minutes to 5pm, an amazing sight meets my eyes, ANTLERS, and big ones. I informed my hubby that a huge 4x4 buck was coming in. Now, we had been messing with each other all day; trying to trick the other one that a buck was coming in when it wasn’t. I thought I would have to do a little more convincing, but I guess my husband could see the truth in my eyes. I froze at the sight of this deer. I couldn’t move. My heart was hammering. I was nervous, this buck was one of the biggest I had ever seen on the hoof. Teddy brought me back to life, commanding I get ready and get my bow. I manage to move from a cross-legged seated position to my knees before I freeze up again. I was so shaken up I couldn’t even look the deer’s way because I knew I would blow it if I did. Ted spotted a second buck, as the first hoped the fence and proceeded to the water. Immediately, it was clear that the first buck we thought was big, was nothing compared to the second. Buck #2 wass noticeably larger, and he knew it. He hoped the fence and pushed the 1st buck off the water hole. It was like nothing I’d ever seen or dreamed of. Two bucks, both bigger than I could have ever asked for, within my bow range. The bigger buck nearly reached the water and blew a chestful of air out, snorting, grunting, dripping snot out of his nose at the other deer. He’s postured up at the first buck and I was shaking like a leaf, I could feel my heart in my throat and it hurt! Ted asked me, “aren’t you going to shoot?” and I instruct him to tell me when it was safe to draw back. The beast put his head down to run off the other deer and I made my move. I brought my Mathews Mustang to full draw, anchored my knuckle behind my ear and my nose on my string. “How far?” I ask. “Fifty yards,” Ted replied.

Reminding myself that my fifty yard pin is green, I lined up, took a deep breath, and released. I watched my arrow and to my astonishment it meet with the bucks vitals. I couldn’t believe my own good luck. Ted nudged me in my chest to try to get my attention. I hit him back without removing my eyes from the spot the monster buck disappeared from. I strained my ears to listen for the infamous crash, but it never came. Finally, I looked at my sidekick, who was shaking worse than me, with one of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen him wear. We laughed, smiled, kissed, and hugged. I forced him to take a victory picture of the two of us so we can forever remember the moment. I fumbled my phone from my camouflage pants and somehow manage to make my hands type a text to my mom. She doesn’t hunt, but she is always my goto gal after a big kill. We waited fifteen or twenty minutes, which felt like a lifetime and climbed out of the blind.

We went to the place where we saw the deer run off into the trees. Within a few yards we found my arrow, which had buried itself 15 inches into my bucks chest cavity. I quoted Ted Nugent, “where have we seen this before? The Beast is dead forevermore.” I knew from the blood trail that my Rage broadhead was working its magic. We followed the blood for about 100 yards before we ran out of light. We were sure my buck was dead, but Ted said we would be hard pressed to find him in the dark, in the terrain we were hunting in. One of the hardest things I have ever done was to let my trophy lay overnight. We vowed to come back in the early morning with our trustworthy search party. After calling everyone we knew to relive the unbelievable nights events, we made it home. As any hunter can imagine, I couldn’t sleep. I kept going over every detail of the two minutes of action all night long. Finally, the morning came and I had a spring in my step. My husband and wonderful hunting guide Ted, found my pride and joy a few hundred yards from the tank where I shot him. We were able to send out the picture message everyone we knew had been waiting on. We took the deer on a tour around town to show all of our friends. I couldn’t be more proud. I received so many congratulatory texts and phone calls from friends and family. I was beside myself that day. At one of our friends house, we had a small photo shoot and photos of my deer spread like wildfire around our small town. There is no better feeling than a crowd of fellow sportsmen gathered around the tailgate admiring the trophy. Especially when accompanied by the statement, “Congratulate her, my wife shot this!” Their faces were priceless!
This was a buck of a lifetime, an unforgettable, amazing experience and something I will never forget until the day I die. Words cannot capture how grateful I am to be the lucky lady sharing this story with you.

Special thanks go out, first and foremost, to my loving husband Ted. His passion for hunting and the outdoors is contagious, he introduced me to archery and without whom I would be lost. He is responsible for a lot of my success while hunting and he has taught me everything I know. Thank you also to Mark McCullough and Ben Rudy who were a vital part of our tracking team. Thanks to Jr. and his gang at Bull Basin Archery for setting me up and always believing in me."

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