Birthday buck a monster for 12-year-old

Dylan Smith, of New Riegel in Seneca County, shot this 22-point buck with a crossbow a day before his birthday. The buck is expected to score in the 160-170 range. At right is a trail camera picture taken of the animal last summer.New Riegel, Ohio — Happy birthday to you, Dylan Smith.

The precocious 12-year-old received an early birthday gift when he shot a 22-point buck on Nov. 4, a day before his birthday.

The nontypical buck is expected to green score in the 160-170 range, said Dylan’s dad, Gerald, a farmer from Seneca County.

The kill has created quite a stir in the small Seneca County village of New Riegel.

“He has just been happier than heck,” said Dylan’s mom, Dottie. “We’ve had people coming in and out of here like crazy” to look at the deer.

The day started just like any other for Dylan, who hunts quite a bit with his father. Just a week earlier, he had killed a doe.

Dylan and his dad was at their makeshift blind behind four straw bales when the sun came up Sunday morning, Nov. 4.

“I was thinking that it’s about time for deer to start moving around,” Dylan said. “I knew that they usually come up from the creek so I was looking around there.”

The blind is positioned beside a creek that runs through the Smith’s family farm in between two woodlots.

While Dylan was watching, a buck chased a doe into a nearby cornfield and then lost it, he said. Dylan used his grunt call to get the buck’s attention and it slowly came walking along the creek.

The buck walked to within 10 yards of the blind and offered a shot.

Dylan took it with his crossbow. The buck flinched and bounded off toward the creek.

It wasn’t long before Dylan and dad were standing over the animal as it lay dead in the creek. It was a double-lung shot, a perfect hit, Gerald said.

“It was a pretty simple hunt, really,” Gerald said. “He did things right.”

Dylan quickly telephoned his cousin, Andy, to help pull the deer out.

Come to find out, the deer had been captured earlier in the year on trail camera footage by a neighbor about a block away.

Dylan, a seventh-grader, has been hunting since he was 8 and has killed a few bucks.

“I carried around a BB gun and hunted squirrels and rabbits before (deer hunting),” he said.

Still, he prefers deer hunting above all else.

“I find (deer hunting) more of a challenge than squirrel or rabbit hunting,” he says, succinctly. “The deer are just so much smarter. When you get a deer, it’s a lot more rewarding.”

Dottie says her son is serious about deer hunting.

“All last weekend he was sighting in his bow,” she said. “Ever since bow season started, he’s been hunting right after school every day.”

Dylan already has a place picked out for his mount, right beside a buck that his dad took some years ago.

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