When James Diesfeld III of Sanford walked into the woods in Moore County the afternoon of Oct. 31, he was hoping to see a nice deer, but didn't expect to have an encounter with the deep-woods gobblin that came to call.

The big buck that stalked Diesfeld's stand and didn't get out of the Halloween woods had a tall, wide main-frame 8-point rack. Taxidermist Charles Dycus of Sanford put a tape on the buck's rack and came up with a gross score of 161 inches, bolstered by a 21-inch spread, two 12-inch tines and two 10-inch tines.

"I was hunting some private land in Moore County," Diesfeld said. "There is a hardwood draw with a lot of acorns, and I thought it would be a good funnel where deer would pause and feed. I crept in that morning and went to a tree I had seen scouting and climbed up. I didn't see a buck that morning, but had some does staying and feeding right in front of me for about an hour. I stayed until about 11 o'clock, hoping a buck would come out trailing them, then I decided to take a break for lunch and go back that afternoon and see if the does attracted anything later in the day."


Diesfeld, who was using a Summit Viper X5 climbing stand, was back up his tree at 4:35 that afternoon, and he didn't have to wait long for the action to begin.


"At about 4:45, I heard a deer moving behind me and to the left." he said.  "When I finally located it, it was in heavy brush only about 25 to 30 yards from me. I couldn't see its head or back, but what I could see looked large, so I eased my shotgun to my shoulder.


"As I was watching, the deer began moving around me and to the front. The brush was thick enough I could only get glimpses or see part of it.  I got a quick look at the top of the tines a time or too, but they looked too wide."


At one point, the buck disappeared, and Diesfeld was worried he'd been spotted or winded. Holding his Benelli shotgun at ready for so long had left his hand numb and his arm cramping, but he was still afraid to move – and not moving wound up being the correct move.


"After about three more minutes I heard a stick break and spotted his rack move," Diesfeld said. "I still couldn't believe that was his rack and thought it must be limbs moving with him. This time, he took a step towards thicker brush and moved into a small opening, letting me get a good look and take the shot.  He had moved away to about 50 yards, but my (shotgun) patterns buckshot well, and one shot of 3-inch Federal Premium 00 buckshot dropped him in his tracks."  


Diesfeld said he watched the deer for a while to be sure he didn't get back up. When the deer had been still for several minutes, he picked up his binoculars to get a closer look and realized how big the buck's antlers were.


"Finally, I climbed down and walked over to him," Diesfeld said. "I've shot a few nice deer, but this is the first deer I have ever shot that the rack didn't suffer from ground shrinkage. This rack kept getting bigger the closer I got. I think my heart was pounding harder as I walked those last few feet than when I was sitting in my stand waiting to get a shot. All I could think was, man, what a deer!"