A person who has hunted whitetail deer 36 years and taken two or three animals each season isn't a likely candidate to get excited in a tree stand.

But then again, what if something happened similar to Phil Culberson's experience?

Culberson, a 60-year-old carpenter from Siler City, was in a platform stand in the middle of a Chatham County clearcut on Nov. 18.

"I was 18 feet up in a homemade ladder stand," Culberson said, "and I'm lookin' at a little deer activity in a grass field that joins the cutover about 150 yards from me. Some spikes were chasin' does when I heard a deep grunt, and I saw the tips of antlers glistenin' in the sun standing next to a fence."

About that time, he noticed a doe grazing in the cutover, then the buck jumped the fence.

"He kept workin' slowly closer to the doe, but I couldn't see anything but his head," Culberson said.

The buck, a perfect 10-pointer with extremely tall tines, would appear then disappear in the head-high weeds and pokeberries, showing only its headgear.

"He did this for a solid 45 minutes," Culberson said. "I don't normally get excited, but I was a shakin' wreck."

Finally, Culberson climbed up on the wooden seat in his stand.

"I still only could see his head," he said. "He'd take a step, stop, then take a step, and I could see his head for an instant, then he'd disappear again."

He decided to take an off-hand shot while his crosshairs were wavering across the target area. His attempt with his .270 Winchester bolt-action rifle missed cleanly.

However, the buck only moved a few feet. Meanwhile, the doe began moving quickly past Culberson's stand. The buck sensed her presence and started toward her in the heavy underbrush.

Walking quickly, the 10-pointer stepped into a small opening, Culberson fired, putting the 200-pound animal down with a quartering-away shot.

Culberson hasn't had the rack scored, but it's near-perfect symmetry will possibly net it close to 150 inches.

"I haven't hunted that stand much because I only have one stand there, and it's on the south side of the cutover, and I had a 5 mph north wind that day," he said.

What made Culberson's trophy even better was a 140-inch 13-point trophy killed by a hunting buddy, Hal Milholen of Siler City, about five miles away at almost the exact same time.

"I'd seen a big 8-pointer the day before at the same place, but I didn't shoot him because he had a broken tine," said Milholen, 49, an avid hunter who has traveled to Canada several times to try for a trophy whitetail.

"He was leaving a food plot about 90 yards away, and I shot him in the right shoulder, and he went right down," said Milholen, who was in a climbing stand in the middle of a grove of oak trees with a .270 Browning A-Bolt and a Sightron scope.

His deer's rack sports a 6x5 mainframe with two crab claw points.

"My best deer is a 150-inch Canadian buck, but this is my best North Carolina deer," he said.

The pair, part of a loose-knit group of hunters, met later that day and exchanged handshakes and congratulations.