A PA Public 8.5 Year Old Buck - The Tyler Romberger Story #7 “Mobile Origins”

March 08, 2023 8 min read

A PA Public 8.5 Year Old Buck - The Tyler Romberger Story #7 “Mobile Origins”

Tyler Romberger - Mature Buck Mobile Hunting 

By: Justin Hunold & Tyler Romberger

Imagine hunting a high pressure state like Michigan, New York or Pennsylvania. Put yourself in that head space, those traditionally high hunter density states. The norm for one of the locales and the hunters that inhabit them is to concentrate their time and efforts on finding a 2.5 or even a 3.5 year old buck to chase. You might even chance on a deer a bit older, but how about killing a truly mature deer, like 5.5 or a real old hat at 8.5? How about killing multiple bucks over 8.5 in one of those states? Your dream is one man’s reality and he uses mobile hunting and intense observation to do it.

Meet Tyler Romberger. Tyler comes from Central Pennsylvania and when I chatted with him one thing became apparent, he didn’t fluke into the 8.5 year old buck that he originally sent into Trophyline to check out. Tyler and I linked up for what was supposed to be a quick zoom call about his older age class buck he arrowed in 2021 out of his saddle but once I saw the mounts on his walls and chatted with him for a bit we went well into the time period you have to pay for on a zoom call. And boy was it worth it!

Tyler woke on the morning of October 28th, after having his saddle for only a few days, and decided that it was just to “Bucky” that morning to go to work. We all know that feeling, when the morning is crisp and the smell of fall hits your nose, your neck swells up just a bit and the hair stands up on the back of your neck. You gotta get in a tree. There would be no paid work for Tyler that morning, but there would be woods work, which is the best work.

 Having moved from a climbing stand to a saddle set up earlier that season Romberger was able to push further into a creek bottom than he had previously ventured during the hunting season. I qualify the timing because he puts over 300 miles a year in scouting, shed hunting and running cameras. His reasoning for going to a saddle was to make a lighter more compact load to get into some of the places he had been avoiding with his climber.

 “I found a tree with some cover and was in my saddle ready to go by 8:30am. I let out a few soft grunts hoping that if any deer heard me coming in they would think I was another deer.  Within 10 minutes I heard a twig snap; I looked in that direction and there was a doe running right towards me. She stopped three yards from the base of the tree. Not seeing anything behind her I pulled out my phone and started to video her. Something didn’t seem right as she walked down and laid in the small creek forty yards below me.

 While trying to wrap my mind around what was going on, I heard a loud grunt coming from the same direction the doe had appeared. I quickly put my phone in my pocket and grabbed my bow. I could see another deer, nose to the ground, working through some thick brush following the doe’s trail. He stopped at thirty yards, turning around, and leaving out a loud long roar. Instantly a smaller buck that was trailing behind turned and high tailed it back up the stream bed. The larger more dominant buck turned, nose back on the ground, continuing to follow the hot trail.                    

 I drew my bow and waited for the buck to clear the thick brush. The buck read the script perfectly! He gave me a slight quartering shot at five yards. I released the arrow and watched it find its mark. The buck ran ten yards, fell over, somehow managed to get back on his feet and made it another twenty yards before finally piling up. Fifteen minutes in the saddle, and I had a buck on the ground! I sat there in total disbelief of everything that happened and how quickly it all occurred.”-Tyler Romberger

Romberger had eight years of pictures with the buck he took in 2021. What is crazy is Tyler sent the incisors into WildLife Labs and the deer was aged at 8.5. This again, is on public land in Pennsylvania, moreover this isn’t his only old monarch.

 

In 2015 Tyler killed a deer that he had four years of history with, again on public land and again mobile hunting. This buck was aged out but not certified at over 8.5 years. What is even harder to wrap your head around than a hunter killing truly mature bucks on public land is the fact that Tyler is not targeting these bucks specifically.

Tyler puts his time and work in to close the deal on big bucks, but he will also be the first to tell you he is not a “Trophy” hunter. He is focusing on spots within the spot using camera data, boot leather and in season scouting combined with mobile hunting to get himself in a position to make a play at the bucks in his area. It happens to be these tactics are also lining him up on the oldest deer he has had any history with in the woods he hunts.

 Starting with camera placement on community scrapes he finds during shed hunting and spring scouting his system is consistent. Then using in season scouting Tyler finds what he calls satellite scrapes or smaller less used scrapes. Once they have been located he will hang a camera on those scrapes to begin to ascertain what his chances are for a mature buck in that area.

When posed the question about the satellite scrape and identifying if it’s a big mature buck or a young buck getting his first fall feelings, Tyler keys in on the depth of scrape rather than looking for the overall size or an individual track. He also keys in on the licking branch, size of branch, and how broken or mangled it is.

From there Tyler will check the camera either when in the area or when hunting. But he is not specifically keying in on buck sightings. He will hunt a location during the seeking or chasing phase if he has multiple does in an area. Romberger will also check a camera on say a Thursday after work and make a plan for the upcoming Saturday morning based on that SD card. Cell cameras don’t work in the places Tyler likes to get to.

This leads us back to the buck from 2015. With pictures from 2:00 am that morning Tyler moves off of that scrape to where he assumes that buck is coming from to check the scrape. He  moved off of that scrape towards cover and a “spring seam” or natural water. He keys on these natural springs as a feature that dictates deer movement. He also moves off of the scrapes as he feels a mature buck will stick in that cover and then cruise past the scape without exposing himself to check. That mature buck has no reason to make himself vulnerable unless just to see what's going on.

So, with that in mind Tyler let out a couple soft grunts after getting set up. That old buck came in on a string and within a half an hour Tyler’s Pennsylvania buck tag was filled for the year.

He concentrated on being in on the cover and terrain that he felt gave him the best opportunity at a mature buck in this area, and that buck was the oldest buck he had knowledge of for where he was hunting. Using mobile hunting to take the hunt to the deer rather than waiting for the hunt to come to him is the signature of a “mobile venatic”.

 

 

Tyler's Big Buck Tactics

A few key takeaways that might not be apparent about Tyler’s big buck tactics: let’s take a peek at , timing, mobility, wind, terrain, cover and calling. We can see that the confirmation of off season scouting and cameras with in season scouting and cameras is the lynchpin to Romberger’s system. With that being apparent let’s see where to add the other ingredients to his mature buck soup.

 

  • Timing- Tyler is a “Rut Hunter” focusing on the late October to Early November time frame.
  • Mobility- Tyler has migrated from climbing stands to Saddle hunting to cut down on noise and imprint, along with a lighter package to get in further. He has always used a mobile option to get on big bucks.
  • Wind- This is where he separates himself from the standard notions of hunting older bucks, Tyler factors wind in but it isn’t as important as timing, cover, terrain or sign.
  • Terrain- Tyler has enjoyed his “luck” on these mature age class deer by targeting water features, springs, seeps, and creeks. He has found great movement over the years by focusing on those big woods springs specifically.
  • Cover- Tyler will push into the cover as far as possible while maintaining some level of stealth, he is concentrating on the edges of cover especially keying in on Mountain Laurel and Green Briar patches near the scrapes he has designated as Mature Buck Scrapes. Tyler feels edge is arguably one of if not the most important factor in the big woods.
  • Calling- Romberger is letting out a few soft grunts after settling in to help “mask” the sound he is making getting in and setting up. Both of these older more mature bucks seemed to respond to this light calling tactic or at the very least it didn’t hurt the situation.

 

When we hear about someone “lucking” into an old, big bruiser of a buck we can discount this as a fluke for sure, but in Tyler’s case it is by specific plan. He has multiple bucks over 3.5 years old on public land and two specifically over 8. When we listen to mature buck killer’s talk or read their articles we often get the message, wind over everything, kill them early, hunt a specific buck, pattern every inch of their movement, then surgically strike. This is absolutely a great formula.

Tyler hard works his way into mature bucks, and he does it with a good bit of woodmanship, a little bit of tech, and a lot of his own system. At the end of the day the proof is on the wall and he doesn't have much real estate left to hand more mature bucks on. But he’ll figure that out when time comes again. And it will come again because when a woodmanship, tech, mobile hunting and hard work come together there is no space for “Lucking” into another big buck, it’s just going to happen.

About Tyler : After being randomly drawn as a social media giveaway winner Tyler Romberger is a Trophyline Ambassador. After learning about this story we immediately signed him up! Have a story? - Submit your story here.  

About Justin: Justin Hunold is lifelong hunter from upstate New York, family man, and  enjoys educating and sharing information on the outdoors. He has been Trophyline ambassador for years, a consistent contributor to Trophyline since the first day of Trophyline’s rebirth in 2019. At his core, Justin Hunold is a Mobile Venatic through and through.


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