It took three years and a quirk on the calendar, but the deer that Mitch Adams of King and his twin brother, Matt, nicknamed “Too Tall” finally made a fatal mistake.
Mitch Adams, a physical-education teacher and girls basketball coach at South Stokes High School, and his brother watched for three years and compiled a ton of trail-cam photos of the big buck, which would disappear after the second week of archery season – only to reappear the next summer.
This fall, with Sept. 1 falling on a Sunday, archery season in Northwest North Carolina opened on Sept. 7, a week earlier than usual.
“We knew we had to get him early, so it really helped this year the deer season opened the first Saturday in September instead of the second Saturday,” said Mitch Adams, who finally put an arrow through the 11-point buck – a main-frame 5x5 with one sticker point – the morning of that first Saturday.
The buck, whose rack has been scored at 128 gross inches, weighed better than 200 pounds, according to Adams.
“My taxidermist pulled his jawbone and aged him between 7 ½ and 9 years, so he was past his prime,” Adams said. “I killed one two years ago that went 132 inches, but Too Tall was a bigger buck, and we had more history with him.”
Adams said in 2011, the first year the brothers found Too Tall, “his rack went straight up,” leading to the nickname. “He was a 9-pointer in 2011 and a 10-pointer last year. This year, he was still a 10-pointer, with a kicker off his left G-2.”
After targeting the buck the previous two seasons, the Adams brothers thought Too Tall might have sensed where they placed their tree stands.
“We kept the cameras going all year; that’s how we finally figured out where to put this stand,” said Mitch Adams, a 35-year-old native of Sparta. “We thought he might be going across a road to better cover. We continued to move the cameras until we located where he was.”
Their new stand location was a tree near the top of a ridge in Stokes County. They picked the spot because they’d discovered a well-used trail at the bottom of a nearby rock face, and they set up an automatic feeder to scatter corn across the vicinity.
“I had six bucks come up the trail that morning,” Mitch Adams said, “a bachelor group with two 8-pointers, some smaller bucks and Too Tall.”
Adams was in his stand at 5:25 a.m., and it was 55 minutes before he heard the first sounds of deer walking.
“I had four bucks in front of me, but all I could see were dark bodies,” he said. “As it got light (about 6:30 a.m.) an 8-pointer came within 15 yards. Then I saw Too Tall coming up the mountain. He was the last buck in the group.”
When the deer was 15 yards from Adams’ tree and quartering away, he drew his Athens Recluse compound bow and sent a graphic Carbon Express arrow fitted with a mechanical, two-bladed Rage Hypodermic broadhead, speeding toward the buck. The arrow slammed into the right side of Too Tall’s chest, a little high, and ranged down toward the deer’s left foreleg.
“He ran down the hill,” Adams said. “I waited an hour, then called my brother.”
The pair waited four more hours, then drove to the top of the mountain and began to search down.
“The entry wound was so high, and the arrow didn’t come out the other side, so he was bleeding internally and we didn’t have much of a blood trail,” Mitch Adams said. “We found some specks of blood, but Matt said when he was in his stand, he’d heard what sounded like a deer thud, a deer fall down, about the time I shot.”
Mitch Adams found the buck after a 300-yard off the side of the ridge and next to a food plot.