By LBL Communications Department
An intensive, four-year pursuit of an elusive buck dubbed “Sasquatch” at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (LBL) ended in celebratory tears, hugs, and shared joy between father and son. Like its namesake, glimpses of this 16-point deer were only captured in grainy photos. That was, until the 2021 Kentucky deer quota hunt at LBL.
On that fateful November morning, Bobby Carnine and son, Jacob, both of Benton, Kentucky, had the hunt of a lifetime together, with Bobby describing it as “the greatest memory of my life.” This moment was decades in the making, as this father and son duo have been hunting public lands together for over 20 years. “The best memories I’ve ever had were of us hunting, including this hunt,” said Jacob. “My dad taught me to enjoy the hunt more than anything. Hunting is a family thing for us, and spending time with family is the biggest thing.”
Bobby has been on a quest for the buck he named “Sasquatch” since finding its shed at LBL in 2017. That discovery led to a year-round obsession, with Bobby collecting trail camera photos, sheds, and diligently tracking and mapping the monster buck’s movements for four years. All of his patience, diligence, and passion for this deer finally paid off, with his son at his side.
There wasn’t much time to savor the first, in-the-flesh view they had of the seemingly mythical buck when it flashed before their tree stands. They saw a doe, and then a spike, run by. Then came the sounds of “Sasquatch” crashing through the forest, running close behind. When they realized who was about to cross their path, Bobby felt “a train of emotions.” Bobby quickly whispered to his son, “You better get ready.” Within seconds, Jacob fired a successful shot at 75 yards. The beast was no longer a tale of mere legend, but now part of a family story that will be told for years to come. “Words can’t even describe the experience, we hugged and had tears in our eyes. It was one of the best hunts ever, and I am so glad my dad was there,” said Jacob.
Deer hunting for the Carnine family is certainly a family affair. The day before the big hunt, Bobby went hunting for “Sasquatch” with his other son, Luke. Upon getting news of Jacob’s success the next morning, Luke and the rest of the family rushed out to LBL to share in the excitement and help carry out the storied buck to the hunter check station. Bobby encourages other parents to take their children hunting. “Definitely take the kids out hunting. Some of the greatest family memories were spent in the woods. Kids learn how to work hard and have fun together.”
Bobby and his sons hunt regularly on public land, both near home at LBL and around the country. “Hunting LBL can be frustrating, as it’s more challenging,” said Jacob.
His father agreed, calling LBL a hard but enjoyable place to hunt, and one with benefits through persistence. “Work harder than everyone else. And when it hurts and you’re about to give up, you’re almost there,” said Bobby. Both agreed that the work and challenges that come with hunting on public land make the payoff even better.
LBL provides over 170,000 acres of diverse wildlife habitat and excellent hunting opportunities, and non-consumptive uses. The Carnine’s monster buck is a testimony of the success in active management techniques on the local landscape. It is also considered a result of removal of Bonus Bucks tags at LBL in recent years which is allowing game to reach a fuller genetic potential, according to Andy Radomski, Wildlife Biologist with the USDA Forest Service at LBL. “Hunting is an integral part of LBL and is woven into the fabric of our wildlife management program as well as our local culture. Whether it’s hunting for small game, waterfowl, turkey, white-tailed deer or birdwatching with your favorite pair of binoculars, LBL offers an impressive variety of opportunities more than 300 days a year,” he added.