John Tuttleof Reidsville lives in a deer-rich area of North Carolina and is involved intimately with deer and deer hunting, but he rarely gets to hunt, and then only with a bow. Luckily, he had a chance last Tuesday, and he made the most of it, taking a huge, Rockingham County buck that may be headed to the top of the state’s record book.
Tuttle, who works a regular job that ends every day at 5 p.m., also helps his father process deer after hours, so gun season is pretty much a wash. But a Mathews Prestige bow was all he needed to take a buck that might push for No. 1 bow status in North Carolina – or higher.
Eric Knowles of Reidsville’s Broken Arrow Taxidermy is preparing a shoulder mount of Tuttle’s buck, and he supplied measurements for the rack that produced scores of 188 1/8 gross and 166 6/8 net – the second figure a tie with Andrew Kerman’s 2009 Guilford County state-record typical bow kill.
But the score could go higher. The rack has matching points measuring 5 4/8 inches protruding off the main beams between the brow tines and the longest tines on each beam. How those points are scored – typical tines or non-typical sticker points – will change the buck’s total score and where it ranks in the state record book.
Harlan Hall of Burlington, a former N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission biologist and certified Boone & Crockett Club scorer, said he would classify the two points as abnormal.
“To me it’s a non-typical rack,” Hall said, “but someone else might think differently. Those two points really don’t match the flow of the rest of the tines. They look to me like they’re out of place and don’t match the rack’s other tines. They’re just small non-typical points above the G-1s.”
But if the two points are scored as typicals, the rack would score between 177 and 178 and become the No. 3 all-time typical in North Carolina history – by any weapon.
Tuttle, a 46-year-old Dan River Water Company employee, killed the buck the afternoon of Oct. 1. He climbed into a Summit climber and ratcheted his way 30 feet up a red oak. About 90 minute, later he arrowed the buck with a main-frame 5x5 rack with one sticker point off the left base and the two points just up the beams from the brow tines.
Tuttle, who mostly hunts one property, had scouted a farm a week earlier and discovered a well-used deer trail that exited a bedding-area cutover, then crossed a small stream into some hardwoods.
“It had a few hardwoods, and the cutover looked like a good place for (deer) to hole up and not have to move a lot,” he said.
Tuttle scattered two bags of corn and placed a block of peanut butter near the stream “to see what was there.” He also attached a trail camera to a nearby tree.
His son Rob, a UNC-Charlotte student, visited the area four days later and sweetened the pot with more corn.
“Rob also pulled the (SIM) card from the camera,” Tuttle said. “It was the first time I saw the buck. He was coming, but mostly at night. I wanted to hunt Monday (Sept. 30), but the wind was wrong.”
The next day, after work, Tuttle was in his stand. Three small bucks visited the corn/peanut butter pile at 5:20, then a doe entered the opening and the fireworks started.
“The big buck came in and (the doe) busted out of there,” Tuttle said. “When he walked in, he was turned broadside to me at 20 yards.”
Tuttle, who was already standing, drew his Mathews Prestige compound bow – set at 65 pounds – and fired an Easton ACC arrow with a 3-bladed, 100-grain Muzzy broadhead.
“But as I was raising … my bow, it hit a dead limb that fell out and hit the ground right below me,” Tuttle said. “(The buck) looked up at me, and that’s when I shot him. It was 6:55 p.m.”
The arrow smacked the deer behind the left shoulder and ranged downward, slicing the windpipe and tops of the lung and heart.
“He ran 60 yards and piled up,” Tuttle said. “I heard him fall, but I couldn’t see him when he went down.”
The deer’s exceedingly long tines are its most striking features, with brow tines of 9 3/8 and 9 6/8 inches. The G2s are 12 2/8 and 10 1/8 inches while the G3s are 11 5/8 and 11 6/8 inches. The main beams tape out at 26 4/8 and 25 6/8 inches. The inside spread is 15 4/8 inches.