Pennsylvania Bowhunter Arrows Giant Public-Land Buck

Two years ago, John Raubenstrauch started getting trail camera pictures of a drop-tine buck not far from his home in Pennsylvania. After sharing the photos with his kids and some other local youth hunters, they named the buck “Soup.”

“His drop tines looked like soup spoons,” says John. “And who doesn’t like soup?”

From running trail cameras, John was able to figure out Soup’s routine this year: He would come out of his thick, laurel bedding area every four days to feed on acorns.

“I had been telling my friends all year that I had this buck figured out,” says John. “I knew where he was coming out at.”

Since John was confident he knew Soup’s routine, he wanted to get youth hunters involved in the chase. So, on his first hunt for Soup, he took his friend’s son out with him. Although the pair saw a nice 11-point, Soup never showed.

“I told my buddy’s son that we had to wait for Soup,” John remembers.

On Oct. 25, John was working with his friend, and he knew it was the fourth day in Soup’s pattern and the buck was scheduled to show up. John asked if his friend’s son wanted to hunt Soup with him that evening.

“I told my buddy to call his son and tell him that Soup would be out that evening,” says John. “But his son decided to go hunting with his grandfather instead.”

John decided that he would hunt for the giant himself. That evening, John sat on the ground; but not in a ground blind of any kind, he just decided to hunt sitting on the forest floor. After sitting for a while, John caught movement within the laurel. It was Soup.

“He stuck his head out, and I thought, oh my gosh, he’s bigger than I thought.”

The buck stepped from the laurel at 20 yards and stared straight at John. However, after an intense glare, Soup put his head down and looked in the opposite direction. This gave John the perfect opportunity to squeeze a shot off with his crossbow.

Pennsylvania Bowhunter Arrows Giant Public-Land Buck
When the buck finally gave John a shot, he had a hard time not looking at his antlers! (Photo courtesy of John Raubenstrauch)

“After I shot, he mule-kicked and ran into the woods,” says John. “I got up and walked to my car without ever going over to where I shot him.”

John drove home and gathered his son and some friends to help with the tracking job. However, when they returned to the site of the shot, there wasn’t much tracking to be done.

“My buddy turned his headlamp on and spotted Soup lying dead,” John remembers. “He didn’t even go 50 yards.”

Although John hasn’t officially scored the deer, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is planning on scoring it. However, Soup did tip the scales at 240 pounds after he had been field dressed.

“He is a beast,” says John. “It’s unreal that we get deer like this in Pennsylvania on public land.”

John said that some of the kids who helped name the buck were around after the recovery. And they all kept repeating, “Soup is dead.”

Pennsylvania Bowhunter Arrows Giant Public-Land Buck
John made sure the youth hunters who helped him early season got a chance to put their hands on the big buck and join in on the excitement! (Photo courtesy of John Raubenstrauch)

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