Brian Rhew has become accustomed to taking big deer on opening weekend of bow season. This year was no different, as Rhew arrowed a 146 7/8-inch 12-pointer on Sept. 11, the third day of the season, in Orange County.

Rhew had scouted the buck since last season, passing on him early in 2011 when it sported a main-frame 8-point rack. Letting him walk and grow another year proved beneficial.

Rhew provides mineral supplements year-round, but he begins baiting with corn and setting trail cameras in June. He recognized the buck early on and had shots of him during daylight hours on a regular basis.


On opening day, Rhew and a friend went out in hopes of tagging the buck on film, but the weatherman had a different plan. Two storm fronts came through, and facing a constant barrage of lightning, Rhew decided to call it a day. A linesman with Piedmont Electric, Rhew understood the dangers of a storm and took no chances, planning to come back two days later for a second chance.


Rhew, hunting from a lock-on stand, watched a doe and a small buck in the field for over an hour. They were nervous and trying to catch a scent, but Rhew was placed perfectly for the wind conditions. Another doe and four bucks – one of them his target – appeared, and Rhew realized he would get his chance.


Rhew drew his Mathews Z7 Extreme, set the sight and sent his arrow, tipped with a 100-grain, 2-blade Rage broadhead, on its way. Upon release, the arrow hit its mark, 21 yards away, and Rhew was able to make a quick recovery. At 5:12, Rhew had a trophy to be proud of.


Rhew began managing his land for quality deer about six years ago. After a few seasons, the management started paying off. In 2010, Rhew took a 123-inch 9-pointer on opening weekend, and in 2011, Rhew connected on a 138-inch 10-pointer that made the Pope and Young Club's record book.


Quality management has not always been a priority, however.


"My uncle, Jesse Lennon, lived in Bladen County," Rhew said. "There were 13 people that lived in his house, and they hunted for food. He taught me how to hunt when I was 8 or 9 years old. If we didn't kill anything they didn't have anything to eat."


Rhew began bowhunting about 15 years ago, but became really serious about it only six years ago. His success in both managing his resident deer herd and his hunting skills have landed him yet another early season accomplishment.