Josh Martin took this fine Ohio droptine buck using the NAP Spitfire.
Josh Martin, of Middletown, Ohio has been a man on a mission. For 4 seasons, Josh has had his sights set on a specific buck that roamed his hunting grounds. For anyone who has ever keyed in on that “one buck”, you can appreciate the amount of time and effort a hunter can put into such a quest.
“The first time I laid eyes on ‘Ol Droptine’ was in late-October of 2005 on a rainy afternoon while bowhunting my farm in Ohio. The buck was already very impressive, with a noticeable droptine. I aged him on the hoof then at 4 ½,” said Josh.
Josh figured the big droptine was “just another buck” roaming beyond his core area searching for doe’s. That is until he showed up on Josh’s trailcam in August of 2006. At that point, the buck was a mainframe 8-pointer with a droptine. Josh hunted hard for the droptine buck, passing up several other respectable bucks in the process, but never laid eyes on the buck again that season.
On a snowy afternoon in March of 2007, Josh, with the help of his twin boys, found the buck’s droptine shed. That event would mark the beginning of Josh’s “official obsession” with killing the buck. Having trailcam photos, and now a dropped shed, led Josh to believe that his farm was within the core area of the droptine buck—and that he had legitimate chance to harvest him.
“The season of 2007 was tough to say the least. I never got him on trailcam, and never saw him on the hoof the entire season!”
It would be 2 years later before Josh would see the big buck again. In August of 2008, the old buck finally revealed himself. “I was shocked,” said Josh. “I thought my dream buck had been killed or died of old age, but to my surprise, he was back and bigger than ever!” Josh estimated that the buck was fully mature—at 7 ½ years old. The buck was now a main frame 10-pointer, still sporting the telltale droptine. “No doubt, ‘Ol Droptine’ was back,” exclaimed Josh.
“The only time I had a chance at him in 2008 was on November 4th. He came in to the rattling horns. This buck was massive—he looked like a small pony with a rack on his head!” On that hunt, the buck closed to within 80 yards of Josh’s stand, then started getting leery of the situation, and would not move any closer.
“I saw him 14 times in 2008,” stated Josh.
Josh once again found the buck’s droptine shed on February 15, 2009. Unfortunately, the droptine had been broken off the antler.
“August of 2009 I saw him alot, glassing him from the road with a spotting scope in a bean field almost nightly—I also got him on trailcam.” To Josh, it was becoming obvious that the big droptine was getting old and starting to decline. Josh estimates the buck had lost about 30 inches from the previous year—but the droptine appeared to have more than doubled in size!
Josh’s desire and determination to kill the big buck only grew stronger knowing the buck was getting old and was likely on the decline. “I had him at 57 yards on November 14th, but couldn't get a shot.” Three days later would be a different story.
“On November 17th I didn't go into my spot until 10a.m. trying to take advantage of midday rutting activity”, said Josh. The plan paid off. At 11:28, Josh looked up, and saw 'Ol Droptine’ 70 yards out, walking right at him. “He had just appeared out of nowhere,” Josh stated. “I could tell he was on a mission to get back to his core area. I was feverishly working the rangefinder picking spots I could shoot him. I quickly realized the shot was going to be under 30 yards, so I put the range finder down and concentrated on the shot. When he was at approximately 35 yards, I drew my bow and waited for him to come into my opening at 27 yards,” recalls Josh. When the buck entered Josh’s shooting lane, he touched off the release and "sent a Spitfire to the center of the buck’s heart!"
“The broadhead did its job perfectly and the buck only went 60 yards and started to teeter-totter,” said Josh. “He went down right in front of me! It couldn’t have happened any better!”
After 4 long seasons of chasing his “chosen buck”, Josh finally hit paydirt! “A part of me is sad that the chess match with this guy is over, but at 8 ½ years old—it was his time to go. When you chase a buck for this long, it is just so hard to believe once you do finally connect,” said Josh.
Congratulations to Josh for finally getting his trophy buck. His hard work, effort and determination paid off handsomely. Here’s to hoping for continued success for Josh in the years to come!