Rusty Owens of Stantonsburg succeeded in a season-long pursuit of what he calls the "Unicorn Buck" in the last few minutes of the 2012 deer hunting season.

Owens first became acquainted the main-frame 8-pointer in July after setting trail cameras on hunt-club land in Edgecombe County. His cameras continued to catch the deer throughout the summer, and Owens noticed an extra "brow tine" that appeared to sprout forward from the base of the left beam.

Then, as quickly as the deer appeared, he vanished just as archery season opened in September.

Owens never heard any other club members mention the deer, so he was not sure if the buck had relocated or been killed by automobile or other causes.

 

By Jan. 1, the final day of the season, wet, windy and dreary weather tempted Owens to abandon his pursuit of the buck. He met briefly with other club members that morning, and some where going to run dogs, so Owens decided to head home.

 

After eating lunch with his wife, Windy, Owens sat down to watch television, but Windy noticed he was anxious and wound up convincing him that he should hunt that afternoon since it was the final day of the season.

 

At around 3:45, Owens changed his mind, grabbed his gear and rifle and headed to Edgecombe County. He climbed in his stand at 4:35, and 45 minutes later, he spotted a buck headed his way, facing him with his head down. He could make out eight points and determined that the buck's antlers extended past its ears – putting it in "shooter" class.

 

The buck slowly began to enter a peanut field 125 yards away, and Owens raised his .25-06 Browning A-Bolt and steadied the sights. A slow squeeze of the trigger spiraled the 115-grain Nosler Boat Tail Ballistic Tip to the target, and the buck immediately dropped.

 

As Owens approached the buck, he spotted the extra brow tine, which wound up being a third beam that protruded from the buck's skull several inches below the base of the left beam. He realized this was the buck on his hit list and it was obviously not an extra brow tine. 

 

"I've shot bigger deer, but this buck is really unique," Owens said.

 

The 3 ½-year-old buck weighed 170 pounds. Owens plans on having it scored at the Dixie Deer Classic and having it mounted on a pedestal display.