GLENVILLE, W.Va. — The sun was beaming down on a hot Sunday afternoon. It was the final Sunday in the month of September and for Scott Dobbins and his son Tristan, age 10, it was a quandary of how to spend some time. Despite the heat, they decided sitting in a tree stand was better than sitting on the couch.
“He told me, ‘Dad it’s real hot, but you can’t kill anything sitting in the living room.'” the elder Dobbins shared in a recent edition of West Virginia Outdoors.
Truer words have never been spoken and they flowed from the mouth of a ten year old. There is still hope for America, but I digress. Scott and Tristan spent most of the afternoon together in the tree without much luck. Even the squirrels decided to spend the day holed up in a cooler place.
“Around 6:45 at the edge of dark when they start to move he was about bored out of his mind and I saw this buck coming up the hill,” Dobbins explained.
He poked his son and told him he might want to get ready as the buck approached. It turned out to be the buck they captured on camera several months earlier. Tristan had nicknamed the deer “Pitchfork” and committed himself to taking this buck and no other.
“He asked me if it was a big one and I told him, to get ready, you’ll want to shoot it when it comes by,” laughed Dobbins.
As the bruiser passed, Tristan waited until he was 20 to 30 yards past the stand and presented a good shot. He touched the trigger and nailed the buck with a perfectly placed bolt from his crossbow.
“It turned out great and I told my wife if I don’t ever kill another deer that was worth seeing him do that. The smile on his face was it,” Dobbins explained.
But, fate would not hold him to the remark made to his wife. Dobbins also hunts a piece of land in Doddridge County. He’d been eyeing up a buck there for a while. It was a buck he had passed up a couple of years earlier, waiting for the right time. Turns out 2020 was the year. While sitting in the stand with Tristan in Gilmer County, his phone buzzed him with a text. It was a from his trail camera and a revelation the big buck he was after had just wandered by his stand across the county line.
“It was right as that cold front was coming in and I told my boss on Monday I was going to leave work early and go sit in that stand in Doddridge County,” Dobbins shared.
So he found himself in the tree he had selected, over watching an old timber site. The site was marked with high grass and tree tops across the landscape. Deer were soon well within range and a doe and fawn kept staring at something which had drawn their attention from a nearby stand of trees.
“I kept watching her and thinking it was going to be the kind of buck I’m after, but he never showed up,” Dobbins explained.
What did come wandering down the trail wasn’t the buck of a lifetime, it was a skunk and he strolled straight up to the doe.
“This doe stomps the time out of this skunk and it sprays everywhere. It sprays her, it sprays the grass, and I’m 15 feet in the air above them and suddenly I have the best cover scent you can ever imagine. Regardless of how the wind blows, I’m covered,” said Dobbins.
Bathed in skunk musk, Scott felt raindrops. Slowly a steady downpour started. Dobbins could have called it quits, but decided to stick it out. The persistence, even in misery, would be rewarded. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught the glimpse of movement about 40 yards away near an old tree top.
“He’d walk about two steps and stop, two steps and stop. I usually don’t get shook up until after I pull the trigger, but he had me nervous because a deer whose four or five years old, he’s really cautious,” he said.
The skunk smell didn’t seem to phase the big buck and Dobbins dropped the hammer when it stopped 11 yards from him.
The buck weighed more than 150 pounds after it was field dressed and sported a 12 point rack.
It ended the archery season for both Scott and Tristan, but he’s not out of the woods yet.
“I was read the riot act by my eight year old daughter about not taking her to the blind. Looks like I’m going to be a guide until gun season,” Dobbins laughed.