Purchase photos

At 90: Best deer ever

2/21/2014

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

BIRD CITY -- When Bob Brubaker first felt the urge to hunt deer, he and a friend headed to Wyoming.

There just weren't many of them around at that time, nearly 55 years ago.

"Deer were not as plentiful as they are," he said.

That's changed, and just this past fall, Brubaker -- hunting with son Gary and grandson Jacob, both of whom also shot deer -- brought down perhaps his best deer ever.

He's not one to boast, however.

"It was a good one," Brubaker said, "but not a prize one."

Brubaker's deer, sporting a "5-by-5" rack, along with that from the other two deer were skinned and butchered by his son and grandson.

"I just kept the rack," he said. "I've shot a lot of deer over the years. This was probably the best one I ever got."

Now 90 years old, Brubaker's been hunting deer now for about 55 years.

"I remember it well," he said of going out on his first hunt. "That was a long time ago."

With a less-than-plentiful population of deer, he and a friend made plans to travel to Wyoming to hunt deer.

They got their deer, one of which was just as they were planning to leave.

"We left the head on it and tied it to the top of the car and started home," Brubaker said.

They made it to Cheyenne, Wyo., and were hit by another car. Brubaker pulled the car to the side of the road to avoid blocking the busy intersection.

"The cops came right away," he said. "Started in right away that they were going to ticket me."

That all got sorted out somehow and the two were able to make it the rest of the way home.

It wasn't too much later, Brubaker said, that he saw his first deer in Kansas.

"It was in Sherman County," he said of where he was living at the time. "Now, they're just thick."

Brubaker said he's tried to go out deer hunting every year since he started.

"Oh, I've missed a few years," he said. "Sometimes you don't get a license."

In Cheyenne County, he said, that's primarily because mule deer are the predominate species.

"We don't have an awful lot of white-tailed deer," he said.

As a result, he's most often chased after mule deer, and Brubaker is quick to say "mule deer are skittish as heck."

He's not just hunted deer, going after other species as well, including pheasants.

Not in the past year.

"They're pretty scarce," Brubaker said. "We won't hunt any pheasants for a few years."

He's seen so few pheasants that he fears for their welfare.

"I wish they'd just close it," he said. "I think they're that scarce. I'd rather they just shut it down."

But it's the 10-point buck he was proud of, along with being able to hunt with his son and grandson, both of whom also got a deer.

"The three of us all got deer," Brubaker said. "All bucks and all pretty nice deer."

Some of the venison went to the food pantry, he said.