Timothy Williams’ pack of beagles earned their dog food for an entire year on Nov. 29, when a chase that lasted more than four hours ended with Williams putting a great 12-point buck on the ground.

Williams, 45, from Gates, was hunting a 1,400-acre tract of Gates County land that’s mostly cutover with the Roducu Hunt Club the morning of Nov. 29. Four of Williams’ beagles jumped a big buck almost immediately after he turned them loose, at around 8:45 a.m.

“We ran him until I killed him at 1:30,” Williams said. “I have four beagles that jumped him, then we put six more on him, then eight, then seven. We surrounded this property with 4-wheelers, and we kept cutting him off. What he was trying to do was get out of that block of woods.

“He ran through the swamp and tried to throw the dogs off, and he went in a grown-up cow pasture twice and squatted down, the dogs ran through and he went the other way. But we had so many dogs, there were always a couple of them who stayed on him.”

Williams kept up with the entire race through the GPS collars on his beagles. He knew where the dogs were at all times, knew the buck would be a good ways ahead of the dogs, and could move hunters around to cut him off.

Finally, he discovered up some beagles moving the buck toward the cow pasture, so Williams rode over on his 4-wheeler and parked it back in the woods off the pasture.

“I knew he was gonna come running through there, and he came in front of me, way ahead of the dogs, and he came running in front of me and stopped, and I shot him in the edge of the woods,” he said. “My 9-year-old son actually saw him before I did; he was standing on 4-wheeler.”

The buck had little chance at close range against Williams, who was shooting a 12-gauge Beretta 391 with a 3-inch Winchester shell filled with copper-plated 00 buckshot.

Only when he approached the buck did Williams realize just how big it was.

“There are not that many deer up here that big,” he said. “We kill some nice 8s and 10s, but not too many 12s. 

“This deer had been seen. I hadn’t seen him, but people who live in the surrounding area had seen him crossing the road into this block of woods. I think I jumped him one time earlier this year, but he got across a road. When a deer leaves a block of woods immediately after you jump him, 99 percent of the time, it’s a buck.”

Williams’ buck had a 6x5 mainframe rack with one horizontal sticker point on its right beam. The buck had a 16-inch inside spread and four different tines between 7 and 8 inches long.

“I had glimpsed him that day, but I didn’t know he was that nice,” Williams said.