Rarely does a deer hunter get a second chance at a trophy buck, but Donald Bateman is thrilled that miracles do happen. A 31-year-old Gibsonville resident who works for the city of Greensboro, Bateman killed a huge Guilford County buck on Tuesday afternoon, a week after missing the same deer.
The buck has been green-scored at 174¼ gross Boone & Crockett inches, and despite several inches of deductions, it’s still among the biggest bucks killed in North Carolina this season.
“I missed this deer before; I’d ranged him at 196 yards and missed,” Bateman said. “I went back to my house and shot my muzzleloader, and I was shooting five inches high at 100 yards, so I know I shot over his back.
“I figured if he was gonna come back out, it would be Tuesday when it was snowing and raining. Usually, you don’t get a second chance.”
Bateman was 25 feet up a tree in a Viper climbing stand, back in the woods but still looking at the same wheat field where he’d missed the buck before.
“There were a lot of scrapes around, a lot of doe activity, and a lot of small bucks,” he said. “I figured, eventually he’ll get tired of this, and he’ll show up.
“It was raining and snowing a little, and I figured this had to be the day, so when this spike buck showed up, ran off the does and laid down in the field, I was kind of upset. I climbed down, and when I jumped off at the bottom of the tree, I hit the ground and looked around, and there were several deer in the field. Then, he picked his head up, and I knew.
“In the time it took for me to climb down, they’d all come out. I guess it was a little windy, and I was two or three trees back in the woods, so they didn’t hear or see me.”
Bateman knew immediately it was his big buck, 80 to 90 yards out in the field. He raised his .50-caliber Thompson Contender Omega muzzleloader, peered through the Nikon scope and sent a 250-grain TC Power Point bullet on its way.
“I pulled up on him – he was starting to leave – and I shot him quartering away,” he said.
Bateman was joined by his brother and a hunting buddy, but with the rain and snow blowing, they didn’t have much luck trailing the buck.
“I said, ‘I’ll come back in the morning,’ and when I did, I found him,” he said. “He wasn’t 40 yards from where I’d shot him. He’d gotten maybe 15 or 20 yards back in the woods.”
What a buck it was Bateman found. The deer was a basic main-frame 5x5 with two sticker points on the second tine on each beam. The buck had only a 15½-inch inside spread, but its main beams were 23 and 24 ¾ inches long, it had matching tines that measured 9½, 9¾, 10½ and 11 inches.