Todd Lowe of Mocksville likes the ninth month — a lot. Three years ago, on Sept. 27, 2011, he arrowed the No. 3 non-typical whitetail buck ever taken by an Ohio archer, a 26-pointer that tallied 224 4/8 inches. Last Friday, he hit the jackpot again, taking a huge non-typical from Davie County that may wind up being No. 2 in North Carolina in that category.
Lowe, a former resident of Antrim, Ohio, who operates a thriving taxidermy business – Outdoorsmen’s Choice – took a huge 18-point buck that scores grosses 185 inches and nets, when green-scored, 176 1/8 points.
Only Brent Mabrey’s state-record Halifax County buck, which scored 176 7/8 when killed in 2005, will wind up bigger than Lowe’s among bucks taken with a bow and arrow. Lowe’s buck can’t be officially scored until the end of a 60-day drying period.
“I shot a crossbow last year,” said Lowe, 53, who is exclusively a stick-and-string hunter, “but I went back to my compound this year.”
Lowe was shooting a PSE Bow Madness X-Force compound set at 60 pounds draw weight. And Lowe can shoot it — really, really shoot it.
“My grandfather gave me my first bow, a Bear recurve, when I was 10,” he said, “and some “floo-floo” arrows. He made me learn to shoot walnuts hanging on a walnut tree. Yeah, I could do it.”
Now that he’s an adult, Lowe sharpens his pre-season bow-shooting skills by “stump shooting” — walking in the woods and taking random shots at old stumps. Or he’ll shoot at patches of grass or a cardboard box stuffed with blankets and rags – from unknown distances.
Not that Lowe — who has killed 33 Pope & Young bucks over the past 41 years — needed any fancy shooting Sept. 19. But he was anxious to try and kill the buck, whose images his trail cameras had captured last year.
“I couldn’t hunt him last year because my dad was sick (in West Virginia),” Lowe said. “This year, the landowner told me he’d seen the buck, so I tried to hunt him, but he busted me Sept. 13 (opening day of archery season).”
After that first encounter, Lowe decided the deer’s evening pattern was to leave a bedding area in a deep gully in woods adjoining a field and walk across the corner of the soybean field, headed toward a harvested corn field.
“When the sun went down, the wind shifted, and he scented me,” Lowe said of his first encounter with the buck. “So I made a little ground blind and put a fold-up chair inside at the other end of the (soybean) field’s corner.”
At 7:02 p.m. when the buck walked past him at 20 or 25 yards, Lowe said he stood up because the deer couldn’t scent or see him. His Carbon Express Piledriver graphite arrow, tipped with a 3-bladed, 100-grain Muzzy Trokar broadhead, sliced through both of the animal’s lungs.
“He turned and ran back along the same trail he’d come into the field,” Lowe said. “He went about 50 yards into the woods when I heard him crash.”
Lowe called the landowner, who soon appeared riding his 4-wheeler. After a short search, the two men found the 190-pound buck with a 5x5 main-frame rack and eight abnormal points that added 25 6/8 inches to the base score of 150 7/8. The most stunning parts of the rack are a 15-inch tine and 5- and 5 2/8-inch abnormal points near the skull plate that grew almost parallel to the ground. The antler bases are 5 3/8 inches and 5 2/8 inches, while the main beams total 23 2/8 and 23 1/8 inches.
“I didn’t know he had all those sticker points,” Lowe said. “I didn’t see ’em on the trail cams.”
Mark Headen, a Pope & Young scorer who is a friend of Lowe’s, measured the buck and produced the rack’s unofficial “green” score.