North Carolina’s coastal plain doesn’t produce many enormous trophy bucks, but it certainly did three weeks ago, when Jennings Davis of Lucama in Wilson County celebrated his 75th birthday a week early by killing a tremendous buck on Nov. 14.
Heath Webb of Webb’s Taxidermy in Black Creek said that Davis’ buck measures out at around 171 gross inches, but with a 4x5 frame and a big, split tine on one side, it will probably net in the high 150s – still a tremendous deer for Eastern North Carolina.
“I’d seen him two or three days when I was working on my deer stand before the season came in,” Davis said. “I knew he had been there, but in the days leading up to the 14th, I kept telling everybody he had left, and they said, ‘He’ll come back.’”
They were correct.
At about 5 p.m., the big buck walked out into a sweet potato patch that Davis’ box stand overlooked.
“He just walked right out in the field; he came out all by himself. I figured he’d been chasing (does) everywhere,” said Davis, who dropped the buck in its tracks with one shot from his .270 Remington pump-action rifle.
“I sat in the stand about 15 minutes, and I could see him throw his head up, but I couldn’t tell how many points he was, but I knew he was a right good-sized deer. I called my wife and told her to get my son to come over and help me, and I sat until dark when he got there.”
When Davis and his son reached the buck, they found a tremendous set of antlers, but he said he didn’t realize it was something special right away.
“I didn’t think that much about it until I showed him to the boy who tends the land and lets me hunt,” he said.
When the buck showed up at his taxidermy shop, Webb knew immediately he was dealing with a special animal. According to Webb, the buck has an 18½-inch inside spread, main beams that measure 26 inches each, with tines measuring 14 and 11 inches on each beam.
The buck has basically a 4x4 typical rack with a 1-inch point near the end of its right beam that gives it a typical 9-point frame, and it’s longest tine on the left antler is forked – “like a mule deer,” Webb said – with a 5-inch fork running of the 14-inch tine.
“He grosses 171 inches, but even with deductions, he’ll score in the high 150s as an 8-pointer,” Webb said. “I’ve mounted a whole lot of deer in 23 years, a lot of deer from Canada and Wyoming, and he’s one of the biggest I’ve ever had.”
Webb removed the buck’s lower jawbone and gave it to an enforcement officer with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to send it to a biologist to have it aged, but Webb said he had no doubt that the buck was at least six years old – and maybe older.
“I figured he was between six and eight years old,” he said. “He’s only got a quarter-inch of teeth left showing above his (gums). His teeth are all ground down.”