Hugh Hannah of Waynesville, has been hunting the mountainous terrain of western North Carolina’s Haywood County for the past 34 years. Although large bucks are seldom taken in his neck of the woods, Hannah proved an exception to the rule when he harvested a 141-inch, 8- point buck that weighed in at 231 pounds.
After climbing down from his stand during a period of severe wind gusts on the morning of Oct. 22, Hannah walked up a mountain to check his other trail cameras, only to find them void of photos of a big buck he’d been watching for the last two years.
“I got back in my stand at about 2 o’clock,” said Hannah. “I usually stand in my tree stand. It’s turned away from the area the deer are traveling. I try to hide myself by putting the tree between me and them. About two hours later, I figured I’d just sit down. I didn't think I was going to see anything because the wind had blown all day.
“Then, I thought I heard something. I looked on both sides of the tree and didn't see anything, so, I settled back in and thought I heard something again. I looked, and about 90 yards out, I saw him step off an embankment and start horning trees.”
While the buck was preoccupied, Hannah raised from his seat to face the target and lifted his PSE X-Force Tree Stand bow from its hanger. He tried to steady himself as he watched the buck tentatively move towards him, hanging up multiple times as it eyeballed a different course of direction other than heading to the plot of clover Hannah had planted 25 yards from his stand. On its final approach, Hannah had to regain his composure.
“I’ve never had buck fever like that in my life,” Hannah said. “When he got within 35 to 40 yards, I just leaned back behind the tree and couldn’t look at him. I said, ‘Please Lord, let me catch my breath.’ I was shaking like I was in a freezer, shivering.
“Then, I looked out from behind the tree, and he was walking straight towards me. I didn't have a shot on him. He walked out and started picking clover. We were still having gusts of wind, and about the time his head come up, he spooked and made two steps to his left, which turned him broadside to me.”
At that moment, Hannah released the Pro Hunter Gold Tip arrow and 100-grain Carbon Express broadhead, piercing the buck’s liver.
“He ran to about where he came out at,” Hannah said. “Then, he jumped off an embankment into an old CRP field. He took off again and got right to the edge of the woods and just turned around and looked back. I was saying, ‘Fall down! Fall down!’ When he turned around, it looked like he staggered and went into a laurel thicket.”
After finding two pools of blood where the buck had stood in the edge of the field, Hannah made a short trek into the laurel and found his trophy. The buck carried an inside spread of 20⅝ inches and tines that measured as long as 8½ inches.