While most 6-year-olds stay pretty busy just being kids, Carter Lee Phillips of Pittsboro is adding a healthy dose of the outdoors to his youth. Fostered by a long lineage of hunters including his father, Jonathan Phillips, Carter was able to put an arrow through not one, but two respectable bucks a mere 10 days into this season — the largest being a Chatham County 10-point that taped out at 119 ⅜ inches on Sept. 18.
But his success isn’t just happenstance. Although he had already taken an 8-point and a doe last season, Carter resumed his training this July with his dad, firing off a few arrows a day from his Barnett Raptor FX2 crossbow to make crunch-time feel like second nature. He also spent time with his dad maintaining corn piles and checking trail cameras.
“The first pictures that came in mid-July were very promising, showing a mature 10-point that we chose to dub “City Slicker” because he had spent most of the last 3 seasons inside the city limits on the 10-acre tract we hunt,” said Jonathan Phillips. “We also saw a nice, tall-tined 8-point, a 7-point, a few other smaller rack bucks, and several doe’s. Anticipation was high when the alarm went off early on opening day, Sept. 8.”
Although the morning hunt was slow, the hunters settled back into their ground blind that at 6 p.m. and began seeing action around 7:30 when the velvet 7-point emerged from a nearby wood line with a group of bucks, heading for the corn pile. At 15 yards, quartering slightly away, Carter embedded a 100-grain Ramcat broadhead into his target. After searching in thick vegetation for an hour, the father-son duo found blood and the buck 70 yards away.
But Carter was saving the best for last. Despite disruption from hurricane Florence, when Carter checked his trail camera on the 17th, he found that “City Slicker” had appeared the past 3 mornings around 7:15.
“Being we were coming off of a red moon, I had a lot of confidence he would repeat a fourth time,” said Jonathan Phillips. “Chatham County schools were cancelled again due to flooding so we figured it was a great opportunity to try our luck. We settled into the blind at 6:20 a.m. and waited for good light.”
Around 6:40, Carter caught a glimpse. “That’s him; he’s here,” he said as the buck pushed through the wood line with a smaller 6-point. The two bucks fed closely together on corn for a few minutes. Once they separated, Carter leveled his crossbow and settled the crosshairs behind the buck’s shoulder as it stood 12 yards away. He triggered his bow and the buck bolted.
After high fives and hugs, Phillips phoned Bo Adams to assist in the hopeful recovery of the big-bodied buck. At the end of a 40-yard blood trail lay “City Slicker”; the buck Carter had hoped for all summer long.