Is deer hunting all downhill from here for Zack Satterfield? You have to wonder what more it can hold for a 17-year-old high-school senior who killed a 150-inch buck for the second year in a row last weekend.
Satterfield, a senior at Reidsville H.S. in his hometown, killed a 12-point buck on Saturday afternoon on leased land in Rockingham County, a buck that, by all indications, will score better than the 150-inch 8-pointer he killed last year – despite one tine that’s broken off.
“Looking at the deer my dad has killed and the deer I killed last year that are all 150s, this deer has more mass,” said Satterfield, who killed the 235-pound buck with a single shot from his .50-caliber Thompson-Contender Black Diamond muzzleloader. “He’s tall and has good tines and a lot more mass; I think he’ll score more.”
The buck has an 18½-inch inside spread, and Eric Knowles of Reidsville’s Broken Arrow Taxidermy, who is mounting the buck, said the G-2s on both beams will measure between 10 and 12 inches long.
“This buck is all over 150, easy,” he said. “I think it will score in the upper 150s.”
Satterfield was sitting in a ground blind, back in some thick brush, looking over a beanfield that the buck called home. His father, Tommy, had seen the buck last season but hadn’t been able to get off a shot, and he’d seen it running a doe a week ago, too far away to take with a bow. In addition to having trail-cam photos, Zack had seen the buck three times this fall – the first time while he was putting up his stand and the next two out of range during archery season.
“I knew he was a nice, mature buck from seeing him in the beanfield in bow season, and I stayed dedicated to him,” Zack Satterfield said. “You could tell by how long his nose was, how much gray was on his face and how much his stomach sagged down that he was a big, mature buck.
“I saw him the first week of bow season, right at dusk, but he was too far away, and I saw him the last week of bow season. He came out and was working a scrape, but he was just a little too far again. My dad saw him a few days before I killed him, running a doe across the beanfield.
“I was getting a little irritated because I hadn’t seen him since then, but I knew he was still there, still making scrapes and rubs,” he said. “I’d been going up to the store every afternoon, seeing if anybody had checked him in, but nobody had.”
On the afternoon of Nov. 9, Zach Satterfield was in his blind in plenty of time.
“A ground blind was really the best way to hunt him,” he said. “I had it a few feet back in a thicket off the field, on the opposite side of the field from where the deer come out, just right for the way the wind blows. I keep all the windows in the blind shut except the front one, and that helps hold my scent in.
Satterfield had watched a few deer feeding in the beanfield when, all of the sudden, a doe came running toward him.
“He was following her, and when he got to about 75 yards out in the field, I shot him,” he said. “I honestly didn’t know whether I’d made a good shot, because all the smoke came back in the blind and I couldn’t see. So I waited until dark, walked out and found blood, and I trailed him about 75 yards. He went about 15 or 20 yards back in the woods before he fell. It was a perfect blood trail – easy to follow.”
Satterfield’s buck is a main-frame 5x5, with three sticker points – two of them scoreable, around the bases of the antlers. The fourth point on the right beam is broken off, which will cost it a few points on its net score, but it should still score plenty high – a tribute to the way Rockingham County bucks have been growing up the past few years and to the way the Satterfields manage the land they hunt.
“We manage the farm for big bucks,” he said. “I’m real fortunate to have a dad who has taught me about this. I’ve seen a lot of nice bucks, but they weren’t old enough.”