Chase Watson of Oxford, N.C. is glad he’s a patient deer hunter. For two years, he had a big buck in trail-camera photos on a farm in Granville County and had let him walk.
The walking stopped on Nov. 10, opening day of gun season in North Carolina’s Central deer zone. When Watson approached the buck after dropping it in its tracks at 168 yards, there was no ground shrinkage.
He was a beast. A main-frame 5x5 with two sticker points, the buck carried a tall, heavy rack with an inside spread of 18 1/4 inches. The tallest tines on each antler are 11 inches long, and the next set of tines are 10 1/2 inches long, putting the buck in the 150-inch class, at least.
“This is the third year I had him on camera,” Watson said. “Last year, he was a main-frame 10-pointer with the same kickers, but he wasn’t as tall or wide. He might have been 120 or 130 inches.
“The year before, he was an 8-pointer, but he had the same kicker on his G-2.”
Watson finally got a chance at the buck this year on an afternoon hunt on the family farm, which was planted in soybeans and corn this year.
“I was in a ladder stand, on the edge of a soybean field. I was in my gun stand. I don’t like to get close to deer with a gun in my hands,” said Watson, who had a long shooting lane back in the woods with a corn pile. “He came out after two does. Two does had come out to the corn pile, and he came out and was kind of moving them around.”
Watson saw the buck first ease up to a barbed-wire fence before he came to the does.
“He stood at the fence for about five minutes, just looking, then he jumped the fence and started messing around with the does. I waited until he gave me a good broadside.”
Shooting a Browning A-Bolt in .308, he sent a 168-grain hand-load in the buck’s direction, 168 yards distant. The bullet took the deer cleanly through the heart.
“He was so jacked up, I saw the wind go through him when the bullet hit him,” Watson said. “He just stood there. it felt like it was five minutes, but it was probably five or 10 seconds, and then his front legs buckled and he went down.”
Watson guessed the buck, which weighed 201 pounds on the hoof, at 4 1/2 years old.