A rabbit hunt turned out to be one of the best days ever spent afield for Craig Hester of Person County, because it put him in the right spot to kill a huge 10-point buck on Nov. 25 that may score in the low 160s.

“I went hunting with some friends opening day of rabbit season (Nov. 22),” he said. “We went into a cutover on the back side of the property that had three or four draws I’d scouted (for deer) a couple weeks earlier and hadn’t seen any tracks. But when we were rabbit hunting, I found two white oaks and reds oaks that’d dropped a bunch of acorns, and I also saw some wrist-size rubs.”

The next day, Hester and his sons, Carson and Hayden, attached a climbing stand to a sweet gum tree near the rub line.

On a windy Nov. 27, Hester returned, ratcheted his stand 20 feet up the trunk of the tree and sat down about 3:30 p.m.

“When I walked in, I blew out several deer I couldn’t see, but I said, ‘What the heck, I’m going to the stand anyway,’” Hester said.

Forty-five minutes later, a 5-point buck chased three does in front of him. The buck kept looking to its right, up a hill. A few seconds later, two does came down the hill, and one ran through an opening in a blow down.

“The buck was after her, and I just had time to get my rifle (a Remington .25-06) aimed at the hole when he stepped through 50 yards away, and I shot him in the boiler,” Hester said.

The buck’s antlers, an almost perfect 5x5 mainframe, featured 4-inch circumferences from the base to the G3s. The G2s were 11 inches long, with the G3s at 10 ½ inches.

 “It’s my second-best deer, after a 214-inch non-typical I got in Ohio,” Hester said.