It was the biggest buck I had ever seen on open range.
With at least 12 points, a rack that would easily top 140 B&C and what would have be a body weight of 250 pounds, it was a monster.
The buck was 150 yards away across a creek in a beautiful bottom near Ithaca, NY-far out of bow range. And perched just above me to the right was Lou Marullo with a video camera and high hopes this buck would cross the shallow creek and come our direction and give me a shot.
We watched the buck chasing a doe off and on for two hours but it never came our way but as I took in the stunningly beautiful environment I could not help but feel blessed. Hunting in the northern woods was always a dream of mine growing up but hunting in the woods with Lou Marullo was truly something special.
This was before he was TFG Hunting Editor. He was just a friend.
After a chance meeting in Dallas in 2002, we struck up a quick friendship involving hunting, fishing and laughs. Lots of laughs.
There was the time he run full sprint from a wild hog he accidentally sat by. The pig would have weighed 50 pounds soaking wet but to Marullo it could have just as well been a grizzly.
There was the time after climbing 20 feet up an iced over tree to sit in 20 mile an hour winds with air temperatures around 15 that he called me on the radio to tell me there was a doe walking my direction.
“You shoot her,” I said.
“I’m shaking so bad I couldn’t get a clean bow shot if I tried.”
Laughter ensued on the radio and then later back at camp.
I’ve hunted with many people over the years, most of them a pleasure but other than my late father, Chester Moore, Sr. I have never enjoyed being in the woods with someone as much as I have Lou Marullo.
If you read his column in TFG you can quickly tell he knows a lot about whitetail and turkey and has taught me much. Whether it is how to walk to the stand sounding like a deer instead of a hunter or how to properly kill turkeys in ground blinds, my hunting knowledge has increased because of spending time in the woods with my friend.
He once saved my life or at least saved me from embarrassment and a visit to the hospital.
Hunting in Mason County, I was trying to get a shot at an axis doe with me in a makeshift ground blind and Marullo just behind me in another. Once again he was filming.
A massive bull came and took an interest in me. And it wasn’t a good one.
I figured it would move on with the cows it walked in with but when it started pawing the ground like a fighting bull in a cartoon I knew I was in trouble.
A rock came sailing from behind me and hit the bull right between the eyes.
It left and I breathed a sigh of relief.
And Marullo was laughing. In fact he laughs a lot.
His love for life especially family, friends and hunting is contagious.
I think back to that first New York hunt and realize he had me in the prime spot at the prime time of the season. His schedule allows him little time to hunt this area but he let his new friend come in and hunt there. I never did get that buck but I sure earned a lot of respect for a very generous friend.
A few years later he called me to tell about a monster buck that came in right at the far end of his effective bow range.
“It’s an absolute monster. The biggest buck I have seen,” he said.
But he didn’t shoot.
It was near sunset and the shot was questionable so he passed.
You don’t measure a hunter by the shots he takes. It’s the one he doesn’t that counts and I know he has passed up many shots because that is what ethical hunters do.
Lou Marullo is a great writer and valuable part of the TFG team but more importantly he’s my friend.
One of the very best.
Chester Moore, Jr.