Your Story: A Late-Season Surprise


Meet Jason Ashe of Bloomfield, New York, a QDMA member and board member of QDMA’s Greater Rochester Southern Tier Branch in western New York.

Jason, how long have you practiced QDM?  

I’ve been doing it since 2005 on our 14 acres in Allegany County and on our 125-acre farm in western New York. My father and I decided to try QDM after visiting Craig and Neil Dougherty’s property and seeing what they had accomplished.

Have there been any particular obstacles? 

Not really. It’s been an eye-opener to see what we could achieve with a little sweat equity. We don’t even put antler restrictions on any of our family or guests, we just have fun, hunt hard, and get youth involved every chance we get, even if it is just rock picking!

Has QDM worked? 

I have been blessed the last three years to kill some amazing whitetails and see Laura, my wife, kill some of her best bucks. QDM has brought Laura and I to a new level of hunting. It has turned us into whitetail fanatics 24-7, 365. We are always spending time in the woods, checking trail-cameras, hanging treestands, and enjoying the benefits of a full freezer of venison. We have shared our best hunts together through QDM.

What made you decide to volunteer with the local QDMA Branch?  

QDM has become a lifestyle for us, and being involved with the Branch allows me to teach others what can be accomplished and how much enjoyment you can find. It’s not just about big bucks – it’s a year-round experience, it’s enjoying great deer hunting moments with family, seeing my wife harvest something she is proud of. I enjoy making those moments happen for youth, friends, anyone who wants to try deer hunting. When QDM is presented in a non-threatening way, they realize it benefits whitetails and people.

So, about the photo: Nice brow tines! What’s the story?  

On November 27, I knew deer would move and feed since we had been blasted with 14 inches of snow and extreme cold for the previous five days. The evening was going great and I saw several young bucks, some does and seven gobblers feeding in a cut soybean field. Then the wind shifted, blowing all the deer out of the field, and I had to relocate to another cut bean field. Around 4:15, nine does fed out into the field about 200 yards away, and shortly after a 2½-year-old 8-point came into the field and started checking all the does in the field. Then, the 8-point started staring over his shoulder back toward the creek bed, where all the deer had come from. I saw a big-bodied buck step into the field and focus on the does. He presented me a shot at 180 yards, and I touched off my .270 TC Encore. The field cleared except for the big buck – he just stood with head drooped and ears flat, so I fired a second shot and he bolted. I went back home and got Laura, and she found the buck 60 yards from where I’d shot him. He scores in the 140s and dressed out at 180 pounds, but what is most impressive is that he lived on that farm for 5½ years without us ever knowing he existed! Our neighbor has a 2010 photo of him at 2½ about 1 mile away, you can’t mistake those brow-tines. It was an amazing hunt. A lot of times bucks will slip up when it’s late season and they need to feed, and he did. I have to give credit to Laura because being together when we found that buck was a huge part of the story for me. She also took a great photo of me with the buck!

For more information on how you can become involved with an existing QDMA Branch in your area, or start a new one, contact your local QDMA Regional Director.

About Lindsay Thomas Jr.

Lindsay Thomas Jr. is the editor of Quality Whitetails magazine, the journal of QDMA, and he is QDMA's Director of Communications. He has been a member of the QDMA staff since 2003. Prior to joining the staff of QDMA, Lindsay was an editor at a Georgia hunting and fishing news magazine for nine years. Throughout his career as an editor, he has written and published numerous articles on deer management and hunting. He earned his journalism degree at the University of Georgia.