Magazine story better late than never for Milford hunter

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Bob Murphy of Milford holds a white-tailed deer he shot in 2010, the fifth-biggest ever harvested in its antler class in Delaware. Mr Murphy wrote a short article for Buckmasters magazine that was misplaced for five years but finally ran in the recent issue. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

MILFORD — The tale of Robert Murphy’s prize white tail is part of the story.

Almost six years after the muzzle loader-holding Milford outdoorsman dropped the 190-pound deer, the fifth-biggest ever in its antler class in Delaware, his narrative has gone national.

Mr. Murphy, 58, submitted a first-person re-telling of his Jan. 30, 2010, hunt to Buckmasters magazine, and it finally was published in the Winter 2015/2016 edition released within the past couple weeks, believe it or not.

Somehow, the approximately 1,600-word submission languished at the magazine’s Montgomery, Alabama-based office for years, misplaced, ignored or something like that.

“I thought it was a cool story and wanted to share it,” Mr. Murphy said.

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Bob Murphy of Milford holds his granddaughter Chloe, 1, in one arm and his copy of Buckmasters magazine with the other.

“I figured they threw it out.”

Recently, however, came the surprise of a lifetime. Buckmasters Magazine contacted the 58-year-old author with an interest to publish the article it had located in an envelope around its office.

“I said ‘Are you kidding me?’” recalled the former Department of Correction officer and Maryland State Police trooper.

So Mr. Murphy got to experience the thrill of the kill one more time when several complimentary copies of the latest Buckmasters arrived in his mailbox earlier this month. He said he received $200 and a five-year subscription for his wordsmithing. More information on the publication is available online at www.buckmasters.com.

“All my buddies are already subscribed and are waiting for the edition,” Mr. Murphy said in the days before Buckmasters was distributed to readers.

The article was titled “Wish Me Luck” with a sub-headline of “Not even the postman has the dedication of this Delaware Deer Hunter.”

In the article, Mr. Murphy re-traced his steps on a 17-degree day with a minus-5-degree wind chill that started in a box blind in Milford well before dawn on the last day of hunting season. Before leaving home, he left a message for his wife asking her to wish for some luck.

Mr. Murphy decided to stick it out until 9 a.m., but remained for an hour longer, watching squirrels hunting for nuts in the frigid conditions.

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Bob Murphy of Milford is pictured in 2010 with the deer that has earned him national attention in Buckmasters magazine. (Submitted photo)

The dedicated hunter couldn’t take it anymore, and surrendered to the cold and went in search of coffee. He could feel a snow coming as he pumped air into a low truck tire at a Valero gas station, and contemplated giving it a few more minutes.

At an old campground on nearby Cicada Lane, Mr. Murphy remembered advice from the family who gave him permission to hunt there — the bucks come out when it begins to snow.

Approximately 30 minutes after settling back in, Mr. Murphy said he saw several deer scampering ahead, including a doe that emerged 50 yards in the distance, followed by a six-pointer and then an eight-pointer.

The story peaked with a gigantic buck who moved to the front of the pack. Mr. Murphy described him as “majestic” and a “wall hanger” and aimed for the spot of his body organs. He gently triggered a shot, witnessed a puff of smoke, and the buck took off.

Following deer tracks and a sparse blood trail that faded away at times, Mr. Murphy finally located his prize about 200 yards away. He described himself as relieved and amazed at the larger-than-anticipated size of the fallen buck.

Mr. Murphy said his harvest was proof that some of the biggest deer in the country live on local land here. He’s been a devoted hunter since harvesting a doe on his first day in a tree stand on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

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Bob Murphy of Milford opens the recent issue of Buckmasters magazine to his article “Wish Me Luck”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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