Some things are just meant to be, no matter what happens. It seems to occur every year.

And while Sal Alessandra Sr. of Pendleton is no stranger to big bucks, this year’s trophy looks like it’s a lock for the second biggest archery buck in New York state history after he arrowed a 225-pound 12-point that will net out at 1767/8 inches after deductions. The gross score was 1871/8. It’s a true trophy. Now, for the rest of the story.

This tale goes back to last season when Alessandra was hunting his property. A severe back injury has limited his mobility and it has required a local physician to install a morphine pump under Alessandra’s skin to deal with the pain. It has also allowed him to hunt again.

While he was hunting the early part of last season, he got a glimpse of this particular buck at 40 yards. He tried desperately to call it in that day, but to no avail.

Fast forward to 2006 and the week before the season. In doing some scouting the Tuesday before the opener, he saw the big buck lying down. He saw the rack before he saw the deer itself. At one point, a 6-point buck came into the picture and the dominant 12-pointer started sparring with it. They disappeared.

On Thursday before the opener, he saw that 6-point again. It was missing half its rack from the battle with the big buck. The bucks were moving. In addition to the bruised-and-battered buck, he saw a nice 10 pointer, a huge 4-pointer and an 8-pointer. At 6:40 p.m., he decided to climb down out of the tree stand.

Just before he reached the bottom, he heard a twig snap. He stopped and slowly turned his head. There, not 5 yards away, stood the monster 12-pointer.

Alessandra froze. He watched the deer stare him down. Amazingly, the deer didn’t spook. It simply walked away, down a road that leads into his back property. When his heart finally calmed down, he finished his descent and made the mental note that he would be back Saturday morning — in place for opening day. As he was making these plans, he heard some tree limbs breaking in the distance — not giving it a second thought. It was the eve of the Friday the 13th storm, which had already started.

Alessandra was one of the lucky ones. Yes, the received some snow, about eight inches, and yes, they lost power and lots of tree branches, but he had a 7,500-watt diesel generator to hook everything up to. Modern life was restored in theirhousehold.

Opening morning came and Sal realized that he wouldn’t be in his tree stand. However, he was exhausted from all the things he had to do to deal with the storm and the lack of sleep. By late afternoon, he couldn’t take it any more. He grabbed his Browning bow and headed for his tree stand.

It was around 5:30 p.m. when he saw the big buck again, in a field with the huge 4-point. When the deer were about 70 yards away, Alessandra gave a deep grunt. Within five minutes, the 4-point was checking things out.

When the deer exited his woods and jumped into a neighboring field, he gave another grunt. This time, it was antlers that he saw first moving through the brush. He picked an open spot and drew his 80 percent let-off bow back. As luck would have it, the big buck stopped perfectly in the opening. But his luck stopped there. When he let his arrow fly, it hit a branch and deflected down

The deer jumped straight up, startled at the sound. He bounded a few jumps and stopped.

Sal stood there motionless as the deer started to make its way down the access road. It stopped and looked toward a nearby hedge. Alessandra couldn’t believe it: he was going to get another shot at this deer. As the deer cut across his woods, he drew back his bow once again. In what seemed like an eternity, he concentrated on a mark the size of a quarter in the lung area — focusing away from the huge set of antlers. Finally, the deer hit the opening and Alessandra let the arrow fly. Pop.

The deer jumped over a 7-foot high hedge in one leap and disappeared.

He went over to where he had shot at the deer and he found blood. With his heart racing, he started to wonder if he might be in danger, with only a knife left to protect himself. There was a large puddle with floating blood on it.

He found blood on the top of another hedge that the deer had bounded over. As he worked his way through, he could see the deer lying motionless on the other side. It turned out to be a perfect shot with the deer traveling just 60 yards. Sal had his trophy.

Call it fate, chance, luck or a combination of the three, this deer was meant for Alessandra

Bill Hilts Jr. is a former president of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association. Contact him at

unselfish, but he also knows that when he’s on the field he’s

unselfish, but he also knows that when he’s on the field he’s the guy we want to get the ball to in order to score.”

Colter also brought up Donner’s athleticism, calling it his biggest asset.

“I’ve never seen anybody his size and his strength do backflips. It’s really something to watch,” the coach said.

But Colter won’t let his star player do backflips after a goal.

“We want to keep him on the field,” he said. “We don’t need him to get carded.”

Will the coach relax the rules to allow Donner to do a backflip if the Falcons win the Section VI title?

“If we win, I’ll do a backflip myself,” Colter said.

Contact Pat Murray at 282-2311, Ext. 2258.

Call it fate, chance, luck or a combination of the three, this deer was meant for Alessandra. While the drying-out period is 60 days and it might shrink up a little, it should still retain its number two ranking all-time. Some of the details of the rack: The inside spread is 215/8 inches; the length of the main beam of the right antler is 263/4 inches; the length of the main beam of the right antler is 28 inches; the G-2s and G-3s are all longer than 10 inches in length. Needless to say, it’s a pretty impressive rack and the trophy of a lifetime. And it’s another Niagara County buck for the books.

A note of thanks to Sean Blackley of Custom Whitetail Taxidermy located in Hartland which will be doing the mount for Alessandra. He’s the one who called to alert me of the monster buck.

More deer stories

Fifteen-year-old Cody Hogrewe of Grand Island scored his first deer ever when he arrowed a nice doe with his bow. He shot the deer from his tree stand located on Grand Island.

And a bear?

Dave Brant of Lockport connected with a 4-year-old boar black bear while hunting in Belmont. He shot the bruin at 15 yards on opening day of the Southern Zone season from his tree stand. It was his first bear ever.

Trending Video

Recommended for you