Christmas came early for Rockingham County’s RJ Seiler when he arrowed a 225-pound, 140-inch buck that he had nicknamed “Christmas” while tracking it on trail cameras on his hunting lease earlier this year. He called the deer that because he knew getting a shot at this buck would be like opening a big present on Christmas morning, and he did just that on Sept. 10.
For the past few years, Seiler has been a regular in the pages of Carolina Sportsman Magazine, killing numerous trophy bucks with scores ranging from 135 to over 155 inches. He’s done that through trophy management practices, and by paying close attention to the wind when hunting.
“I knew this was going to be a good year on this farm because (last year) all the bucks were too young and needed another year of growing,” he said. “As soon as I saw that buck on camera in July, I knew I had made the right decision on him.”
North Carolina’s Central Archery season opened on Sept. 8, but the wind forecast was unfavorable for hunting the stand that Christmas was spending the most time around, thanks to a fresh food plot that Seiler spiked with corn and peanuts.
“I refuse to hunt a stand unless the wind is perfect. Even after I get in the stand, if the wind looks like it is shifting around, I will get down to avoid spooking any deer. You can’t mess around with the wind on mature bucks. They will wind you and never come back,” he said.
Luckily, the following Monday had a good wind forecast, so that afternoon, Seiler got in the stand around 5 p.m. With Christmas making a habit of visiting this stand, and with the wind blowing directly into Seiler’s face, he expected the deer to show up.
At 6:15 p.m., a big-bodied deer appeared on the adjoining hillside and made its way toward Seiler.
“I knew it was him immediately and he came right to the corn just as I hoped,” he said.
Initially, the deer didn’t offer much of a clean shot, so Seiler waited patiently until it shifted around into a broadside position, allowing Seiler to come to full draw and release his Rage Extreme two-bladed broadhead right into the engine room from 31 yards away.
The buck collapsed 50 yards from the point of impact, and when Seiler walked up to it, he was surprised at the deer’s size. He realized Christmas had more than just a trophy set of antlers.
“I was shocked when I walked up to him. I’m not used to seeing a 225-pound deer. He was huge,” he said.