When a deer hunter says that he’s paid his dues, you know it means he’s spent plenty of time in the woods. After finding time to hunt nearly every day this season, Darrell Edwards of Reidsville was rewarded with a Rockingham County 15-pointer that green-scored 175 inches gross, including a drop tine on the right beam that was 6¼ inches long. 

Edwards first captured the big buck on a trail camera in the middle of November and had nearly 200 images of him before meeting him for the first time in the flesh — and in daylight — on the afternoon of Dec. 3.

After helping a friend hang a lock-on stand that morning, he rushed home to take a shower and gather his gear. He settled into his box blind around 3 o’clock and watched a corn pile in a small clearing surrounded by a thicket with a small ATV trail on the opposite side. Less than 90 minutes later, things got interesting.

“There were 5 does standing in the corn pile, eating,” Edwards said. “They had probably been in there about 20 minutes when they just separated, and I could see him coming down the trail.  I thought he was going to try to run one of those does, but he went straight to the corn pile and started eating.” 

Hunting in a blind he had designed for bowhunting, the buck was just 34 yards away, but he was nearly head-on to Edwards. As he attempted to regain his composure, he scoped his target and waited as long as he could bear.

“I thought, what if he decides to run one of those does or what if he winds me?” said Edwards.  “I didn't give him a chance.”

When the buck lifted his head from his fourth mouthful of corn, Edwards fired. The 130-grain Remington Core-Lokt bullet left his Ruger .270 and struck the buck between the neck and the front of its right shoulder.

“He dropped right there,” said Edwards. “I just sat there for probably 20 or 30 minutes in disbelief. I knew he was going to get up and run any minute. The biggest thing for me was that I killed one with a drop tine. That was one of my biggest goals.”

Edward’s buck carried an inside spread of 19 inches. The longest tines were 11½ and 12½ inches long, while the drop tine was 6¼ inches. It’s greatest base circumference measurement was 5⅜ inches. It had several sticker points protruding from the longest tines on each beam.