The 2016 N.C. deer season will be one for the record books for 14-year-old Tori Henderson of Rougemont. Henderson shot a 112-inch six pointer on Nov. 17 and then turned around and shot a 137-inch, 13-point whopper the next day from the same Person County tree stand.
“Tori is well rounded and makes great decisions for such a young person,” said Tim Godwin, Tori’s father, who is an NCWRC wildlife officer.
They had the 13 pointer on trail cameras beginning this past summer, and Henderson nicknamed the deer Sharkbait after a character in Finding Nemo. She hunted Sharkbait through bow season, muzzleloader season, and the rifle season, hoping to see him in shooting range.
When she finally saw him in person, Sharkbait was too far away for Henderson to take a shot at.
“I wanted to cry when I first saw him because I knew I would probably miss him if I tried to make a shot. But, he was just too far,” Henderson said. “I had a gut feeling he might come back. My dad told me just to be patient and he might return.”
But on that day, Sharkbait did not return.
“Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I just let that buck walk,” she said.
A few days later, Henderson shot the 112-inch six pointer and was instantly on cloud nine. It was the biggest deer of her life and she was feeling good. But she still couldn’t stop thinking about Sharkbait.
The next day, she got in the same stand with her father and hoped to see her nemesis in that cut soybean field.
After sitting in the stand for a while, the two were quietly discussing what their opportunities could be that afternoon. And when she looked up, she saw a buck on the edge of the field.
“It was sharkbait! Tori started hyperventilating, but he was standing 175 yards away, and she had decided before the season started she wouldn’t shoot anything over 150 yards away,” Godwin said.
The deer walked around for 20 minutes in the field and worked his way back into the woods. For the second time, she watched her dream buck walk around just out of her comfort zone and out of sight.
“We both started wondering if we made the wrong decision and I was kicking myself in the butt,” he said. “Then, about five minutes later, I heard something walking behind us in the bottom.”
Looking through the trees, Godwin finally picked the deer out of the cover and realized it was him. The deer had circled around the field and was coming right to them. As soon as the deer reached the field edge, it was at 38 yards and in a perfect position for Henderson.
“She shot him right at the edge of the field and then the party started. There was a lot of boo hooing, high fiving, and hugging going on. It was an awesome experience neither of us will ever forget,” he said.