MLB Player Who Hunts

MLB’s Vince Belnome’s First Buck

Vince Belnome 10.8.2014

It was a windy November day in 2003 and I had just finished up with high school basketball practice after school. It was later in the day, around 5 pm, and I was debating on walking out to the stand or not. I had just started hunting in 2002, when I begged my dad to take me to get my hunter’s safety course here in Pennsylvania.

Vince Belnome of the Tampa Bay Rays slides safely into 3rd base.

I was fascinated by the thrill of chasing whitetail deer. Unfortunately, my first year hunting didn’t yield any luck, but 2003 would be a different story. It was November, so I made the wise decision to head out to the stand. I climbed up and pulled up my bow. I put the arrow in the rest and stood up and checked all my shooting lanes, making sure I was good to go. The wind was relentless at the time, whipping through the field in front of me. Then I turned around and I was shocked to see a buck standing 18 yards behind me! It must have been there while I climbed into my stand and never heard me through the fierce winds.

I readied myself, pulled back, locked in my sight and let my arrow fly through the narrow shooting lane between two trees. My arrow met its mark! The deer bucked up and ran off through the brush. I waited a half hour before I climbed down my ladder stand, shaking with excitement! I found my arrow and it was covered in blood. Then I eagerly began tracking the steady blood for 150 yards to find my trophy at the end of its path. There laid a 7 point buck. It didn’t have much of a rack or mass but it was my first deer down!

I ran back to the house, hopped on the ATV and went out to the field to collect my trophy. I loaded him up and brought him back to the house. That was one of the proudest moments of my dad’s life, he said to me. It was great to share my moment with him and the rest of my family. We took the deer to the processor and two days went by before I received a call saying my deer had been infested with fly larva so the meat was no good! I was heartbroken, but still no one could take that moment away from me when I harvested my first legendary whitetail!

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