For the last five years, Hunter Stevens of Thomasville, North Carolina has watched a buck grow on his Chatham County land from a small basket rack to a massive 140-class buck with a 21.25-inch inside spread.
This summer, his trail camera photos showed him what the deer had become, and he knew this was the year he was going to take him. On Sept. 9, the opening day of the 2017 N.C. archery season, Stevens was in his climbing tree stand watching the sun drop below the tree line patiently waiting for his prize to arrive with his Bowtech Boss in hand. The buck showed up on schedule making a new chapter in Stevens’ hunting career.
Over the past decade, Stevens has taken many good bucks, but never a high-scoring rack or one with such a tremendous spread. Every year, Stevens collected numerous trail camera photos of this deer and kept passing him up in the stand waiting for the deer to reach maturity.
“When I saw him on camera this year, I knew this was the year I was going to take him,” Stevens said. “Most of the time, he breaks off when the rut comes in and I wanted to make sure I got on him before then.”
Stevens had this deer on a feeding schedule. He was regularly coming to one of his food plots with a feed barrel in the middle of it. And he was there almost every afternoon.
“I got photos of him all year and he was coming in every day between 7:20 and 7:30 in the afternoon on my rifle stand,” he said.
The deer was traveling to the food plot on the same trail every day too. So, Stevens erected a climbing tree stand where he could watch this trail and be ready when the deer came by. And at 7:26 p.m., he spotted the deer walking down the trail right towards the food plot. When the deer got to 18 yards, Stevens drew back his arrow and let it fly.
The buck took off running spewing out a thick blood trail and crashed 80 yards from his stand.
“I have killed some good deer over the years, but nothing this wide or a deer that has the potential to score this high,” he said.
His buck weighed 180 pounds with a gross score in the 140s.