Phil Ring, a retired biology teacher at North Stokes High School, knows a thing or three about hunting whitetail deer with a bow.

Besides living at one of North Carolina's big-buck hot spots, Ring is a proficient shooter, a former archery-shop owner, and he knows when he's found a good place for a chance at a big buck.

All those factors came together Sept. 28 when Ring arrowed the fourth Pope-and-Young trophy buck of his career – a 20-inch 8-pointer with a 130-inch rack and a 250 pound body – in his home county.

"I told my wife I needed to put a stand somewhere to cut the deer off coming to the acorns," he said. "There's so many (falling). I just had a feeling about this place.


"I found two cutovers I thought deer might be coming through, and it had a line of white oak trees between the cutovers," he said. "I thought I might catch one coming to the acorns."


Ring slipped into the area with his wife the day before he killed his buck and put a loc on-style platform stand about 20 feet up a poplar tree. He was back the next afternoon.


"The next day I got to my stand at 10 minutes 'til 6 and shot the deer at 6:35" he said.


Ring said initially he heard what sounded like a deer eating acorns to his right, but underneath a canopy of leaves created by honeysuckle vines, spicewood bushes and black birch trees.


"This deer was within 5 yards of the tree I was, but he would just stand and look, and I couldn't move," Ring said. "I learned long ago not to move while a deer was looking at me."


Finally the buck began to walk away from him behind a small beech tree.


Ring said he figured the buck "smelled something he didn't like," but the deer continued walking to Ring's right and stepped into a shooting lane he'd cleared the previous day.


"He still had his head up, trying to wind me, but I had the sight pin on his right front shoulder by then and took the shot," said Ring, who was shooting a Hoyt Viper 32 RKT bow with a Full Metal Jacket arrow and 100-grain Slick Trick broadhead.


The broadhead and arrow entered the deer's chest between the shoulders and angled into the animal's heart.


"He took off running, the way they do when their heart is hit, then I heard him crash 35 yards away," Ring said. "That's pretty normal for a heart-shot deer."


The biggest problem Ring had with the hunt was getting the buck out of the woods.


"I weigh only about 160 pounds, and this deer weighed 250 pounds on the hoof," said Ring, who dragged the animal a few feet at a time until he reached a spot accessible to his four-wheeler, where he loaded the buck.


"Everybody knows Stokes is a county for big deer," Ring said. "That's the problem now; more people will want to hunt up here."