Public Land Bruiser

David Collins has hunted in Pennsylvania for decades, but had never seen a buck this big before - until Dec. 2. Photos courtesy: PAmonsterbucks.com
Collins was hunting public land in the southeastern part of the state with his dad and some of his buddies. Earlier in the day one of the hunters missed a big buck and saw it run into a small patch of woods that slimmed into a hedgerow.
The group decided to organize a drive to push the buck out and Collins was selected as one of the posters.
Soon, Collins spotted this massive buck busting through the brush.
He quickly brought his gun up and fired. The buck went down, but to Collins' horror, it got back up and took off and full speed. "I thought 'I'm never going to hit this thing again' because I was shaking so bad," Collins says.
But Collins was able to squeeze off another shot and this time the buck went down for good. It green scores 207 4/8 and was taken to Huey's Taxidermy to be mounted. "It's the buck of my life," Collins says.
Creek Bottom Trophy
Just days before, also in Pennsylvania, Todd Marburger killed this beautiful 189 2/8-inch buck.
Marburger was sitting in a stand overlooking a brushy creek bottom, and deer began pouring out first thing in the morning.
By 9 a.m. Marburger had seen 12 different deer, and most of them were does.
"With all these deer coming through I was thinking sooner or later a buck is going to have to come by here," Marburger says.
Then, at about 10 a.m. Marburger herd a deer coming up the creek bottom. It was a big deer and had its nose low to the ground. Marburger could tell it was a big buck, but not much more.
He picked out an opening ahead of the buck, which was moving at a quick pace. When the buck stepped into the opening at 78 yards, Marburger fired.
The buck wheeled away and Marburger was able to take one more shot before it disappeared out of sight. "I was thinking 'Oh my god, I missed this buck. How could I miss this deer,' " Marburger says.
Overtaken by the suspense, Marburger climbed out of his stand to look for blood. He didn't find any, so he headed off in the direction he last saw the buck. That's when he spotted it laying dead, and it's also when he realized just how big the buck actually was. "I was like 'This deer is huge!' … I'll probably never shoot a deer this big again," Marburger says.
The high-racked bruiser will go down as one of the top 50 typical bucks ever taken in Pennsylvania and is one of the biggest bucks killed in the state this year.
Both Marburger's deer and Collins' deer were scored by PA Monster Bucks, a website that covers all things Pennsylvania deer hunting, and mounted by Huey's Taxidermy. To learn more about deer hunting in the Keystone State, go to www.pamonsterbucks.com.
Archery Trophy
Joe Dellaquila Jr. shot a huge nontypical buck in Pennsylvania during the archery season.
Dellaquila hunts on a small tract of land in northwestern Pennsylvania and this is a picture from his trail camera.
He got out to his stand late on the evening of Nov. 2 after voting on his way home from work.
With the rut underway, Dellaquila started banging the rattling horns together when he got into his stand.
Dellaquila knew the big buck was patrolling the area but didn't really expect to see him that evening.
"I was trying to figure out his pattern and of course the pattern goes out the window once the rut starts," he says.
But soon after he started rattling, the goliath non-typical came walking in on a line.
Hoping to make a shot on the buck when it was standing still, Dellaquila gave a doe bleat to freeze the deer as the buck was walking broadside at 20 yards.
But the buck kept on marching.
Soon the buck was out at 30 yards and quartering away. It was now or never for Dellaquila.
Dellaquila let fly and made a solid shot. The buck ran off and then piled up after 60 yards.
"You don't expect it to happen as easy as it did," Dellaquila says about his Nov. 2 hunt. "You almost feel guilty it was so easy."
While Dellaquila was only on stand for a short time on the evening he killed the trophy buck, he earned it through years of hunting hard and smart. He started with the stick and string 16 years ago and always passed on small bucks.
He's killed a few nice eight pointers over the years, but nothing close to the size of this monster.
Dellaquila and his friends have estimated the green score to be 205 3/8 inches but have to wait 60 days to have the rack officially scored.

Most people think the best trophy whitetail hunting is done in the Midwest, but don't overlook Pennsylvania, which has been turning out monster deer this season. Some of these bucks are even being taken on public land.