Sometimes it’s an easy read when encountering people, even younger ones, who have the right stuff.
John Del Papa, 16, of Raleigh apparently has the right stuff.
Although he’s been interested in deer hunting for only three years, the St. David’s School junior is dialed into archery hunting, and that includes eschewing crossbows and firearms for a compound bow.
That determination paid off last Nov. 21 when he killed a 140-class Wake County 8-pointer.
“I’d seen the deer before,” he said recounting a day when he’d had the buck standing at 50 yards, “but I might have wounded him at that distance.”
His father, Jim Del Papa, said his son never wavered in his quest.
“A funny thing about killing this deer with a bow — he had hunted hard for months and couldn’t get a shot with his bow,” he said. “I suggested he use the crossbow, but he refused. He wanted to take a deer with his bow. For once I’m glad he didn’t listen to me.”
John Del Papa knew the buck was using a grassy area and an oak-tree-filled woodlot but had to wait until the school day ended before he could hit the woods.
“I got into the stand about 3:30 p.m.,” he said of his Nov. 21 outing.
“He came out (into a grassy field) right at 5 p.m.,” he said. “I saw antlers about 100 yards away.”
The buck was walking in his direction, and as it got closer, Del Papa could see the buck’s headgear, so he got ready to draw his Elite bow, set at 65 pounds draw weight.
“I stood up when he got to 60 yards,” he said. “I was ranging him. When he got to 41 yards, I drew back, and he walked broadside to me.”
With the bow’s sight pin on the deer’s shoulder, Del Papa released a Bowhunter carbon arrow tipped with a 100-grain Thunderhead broadhead. The arrow hit paydirt.
“He trotted about 10 yards, got light-headed, and fell over,” Del Papa said.
Taxidermist Randy Dunkley of Hurdle Mills rough-scored the buck’s typical 4x4 rack at 145 net inches.