For Tony Atkins, North Carolina’s youth day always comes with excitement and anticipation because it gives his grandson, Landon Long, a chance to take a good buck before anyone else on his Guilford County property. And this year was one for the books. At 7:15 p.m., 10-year-old Landon pulled the trigger on his grandfather’s Remington .300 Win Mag and dropped a buck of a lifetime.
For weeks, Atkins had been watching this big 8-pointer in his soybean field and couldn’t wait for his grandson and Landon’s father, Dusty Long, to come hunt the deer on youth day. But, several days before, one of Atkins’ neighbors killed a real big buck and Atkins was worried that his grandson may have missed out.
“Well, the 8-pointer didn’t die after all,” his father, Dusty Long said. “My boy got him!”
Atkins had a unique setup for his grandson. His hay barn provided them a view of the soybean field where the deer were coming out. This allowed the three of them to hunt together, and Atkins set it up with a good rifle rest and comfortable seating.
That afternoon, the three climbed into the hay barn and got comfortable. It wasn’t long before they started seeing deer in the field — a few smaller bucks, but nothing to get brag about. Then, the excitement started when Atkins noticed a big buck standing in the field at 200 yards out.
“There’s a good one right there Landon,” Atkins said.
“It looked like the rack was gliding on top of the soybeans because the soybeans were about head high,” Dusty Long said.
Landon began to get nervous and he started shaking uncontrollably. His father told him to look away for a minute and relax.
“You need to think about where you are going to place the shot, son,” Dusty Long said.
The deer steadily walked through the field without a care in the world. But, at the other end of the field, the hunting trio settled in the hay barn was hard at work.
“Landon, if he comes out into an opening in the beans, you are going to get to take the shot. Take some deep breaths and get ready,” Atkins said.
Moments later, the deer walked into a small opening where Landon could finally see the deer’s body and more importantly, his vitals. Landon was ready and slowly squeezed the trigger.
At the crack of the rifle, the deer vanished.
“He dropped! Right in his tracks,” exclaimed Atkins, and the party started.
“We were all jumping up and down and giving each other high fives,” his father said. “And the rest was history. Everybody in Summerfield was calling congratulating Landon and coming by to take photos. It was awesome!”
Even though Landon has only killed one other buck in his life, this one is a true trophy. With 12-inch G2s, 25 ¾-inch beams, and an 18 ½-inch inside spread, Landon’s massive 8-point buck scored 142-inches, and brought pure joy simultaneously to three generations of hunters.