Shortly after daylight on Dec. 6, Cody Pyatte of Holden Beach, N.C. scored big on a last ditch effort after a huge 10-pointer that scored 142 5/8 inches. He had been chasing this buck for two years. And while many hunters scatter stands, corn piles, and food plots all over 1,000-acre tracts, Pyatte made it happen on a three-acre tract that was barely large enough for even one stand. 

Pyatte was hunting along a creek corridor that funneled the deer right across his line of sight. It was a tiny tract, but it was in a perfect spot to catch deer coming and going from more fruitful areas in the region. His buck was a traveler too. According to Pyatte, the deer was on 10 other hunter’s radars that he knew about. And this deer was such a traveler, it could have been on the hit list for many other hunters that Pyatte didn’t know about. 

“This deer was roaming across an area at least six miles wide on a regular basis that I knew about, frequently crossing U.S. 17 and N.C. 211. I am surprised he didn’t get hit on the highway he was crossing so much,” Pyatte said. “I was only getting him on camera once every couple of weeks, and all at night until the last week; he started coming out during the day, every day — once in the morning around seven and once in the afternoon around five.” 

Pyatte was running out of time because mid-morning on Dec. 6, he was traveling west with his father to hunt some game lands in Avery County. 

Just before their trip, Pyatte pulled his SD card from his game camera and knew he needed to be on this deer the next morning. The deer was finally on a good schedule. 

He told his father he would hunt an hour in the morning in hopes the deer would follow his recent pattern. And at 7 a.m., Pyatte’s plan came together perfectly.  

“I shot him immediately after I saw his horns and he dropped right there,” he exclaimed. 

Pyatte, who shot the deer with his Winchester Model 70 .30-06, said the hunt lasted about 10 seconds. 

“I knew that I would have started shaking if I looked at him much longer. Buck fever would have set in,” he said. 

Pyatte was excited and started calling some of his neighbors to tell them he had gotten the deer. And to his surprise, one of his friends, Sammy Varnum, had captured a photo of the same deer at 5:30 that morning over a mile away. He was definitely a traveler and Pyatte’s timing, before he took off to the mountains, couldn’t have been any more perfect. 

“He’s the biggest one I have ever had on camera around here. His spread was only around 13 inches wide. But his mass made up for that. I can’t even get my fingers around his antlers. I was happy to get him,” he said.