An 80-year-old New Providence man bagged his first-ever eight-point buck with a crossbow Saturday, Nov. 15 on farmland in Radnor Township, Delaware County.Herbert J. Charles of Main Street, who has been hunting since he was 12 years old, shot the buck about 12 yards away from where he was sitting in an old abandoned pumphouse during heavy rain.
"It knocked my socks off," he said of bagging the buck.
Charles was hunting that day with his grandson Billy Ressler, 37, who lives in Maryland, and his son-in-law, Wade "Barney" Conrad of New Providence. The trio began hunting about 7:10 a.m. and he bagged the buck at 8:20 a.m.
Although it's not the first deer he ever shot, it's the first one he has shot since the 1980s and the first time he shot one with a crossbow.
"My grandson was like my head coach," he said. "He told me weeks in advance how to pull the trigger."
Charles' grandson rubbed rattlesticks together in his hand, which are deer antlers in a pouch, to lure the buck. After watching the buck come closer from hearing the call, his grandson told him to sit down and not to miss the shot.
"He walked over a little rise and he (his grandson) thinks he would've come closer," said Charles, who added his grandson also had doe scent on his boots.
After shooting the buck right behind the shoulders, Charles said "I saw that deer put his head up a little bit and he just fell over."
After he shot the buck, he said his grandson was very emotional.
"The expectations were very high," he said of getting a deer that day.
"I couldn't use a regular crossbow because I can't pull it," said Charles, who bought a cross-bow crank. He has been practicing with it for the past year-anda-half.
The last time Charles shot a deer with a rifle was in the 1980s when he went hunting elk and mule deer in Colorado.
Charles suffered a mild heart attack because of the altitude in Colorado but that did not appeare to slow him down.
"I've hunted all my life and I love it," he said.
The avid hunter also hunts rabbits and pheasants and has bagged 16 wild turkeys in his time. He went turkey hunting in Missouri, something he said he loves dearly.
Charles also shot a 7-foot 6-inch bear in Clearfield County and was going bear hunting in Potter County this week during the three-day season.
Charles, who retired about three or four years ago as president of Hiram Peoples Hatchery in New Providence after starting there when he was 15, also enjoys fishing. He went on a fishing trip to Saskatchewan June 20.