When he killed a couple of bucks last season with racks that scored better than 150 points, Nick Davis of Elkin said several people he knew told him he’d never kill another one that big. They were correct. The buck he killed Wednesday evening in Surry County wasn’t the same size as the others; it would have swallowed them, and has swallowed up the top spot as the biggest non-typical ever killed by a bowhunter in North Carolina.
Davis’s huge 27-point buck, taken around 6:30 p.m., carries a 5x5 main-frame, tines up to 11 ½ inches long, bases that measure 6 and 7 ½ inches in circumference, and almost 60 inches of non-typical points. Joey Thompson, a certified scorer for the N.C. Bowhunters Association, put his tape measure on the buck on Thursday. According to his measurements, but buck has a gross score of 223 1/8 inches and a net score of 208 2/8.
Since the original publication of this story, authorities have raised questions about this potential state-record buck. Click here to read that story.
The existing state-record non-typical bow buck is a 176 7/8-inch buck killed in 2005 in Halifax County by Brent Mabry. Davis’s buck can be officially scored after a 60-day drying period required by the Boone and Crockett Club and Pope and Young Club, two organizations that keep whitetail deer records.
“When I killed those two bucks last year, people were telling me, ‘You’ll never kill another deer,’ because I won’t kill any buck unless it’s bigger than my biggest,” he said. “Now, I gotta hope I can keep those three around another year.”
Those three? Right. Davis admitted that he didn’t know his big non-typical even existed until two weeks ago, when he jumped the buck from its bed in some kudzu while he was weed-eating on the farm he helps manage.
“I had three more bucks as big or bigger than the ones I killed last year, and I was actually going after those deer; I didn’t know this one was around until two weeks ago,” he said. “When I jumped him, I almost dropped the weed-eater. I’ve never seen anything like him before.
“At that point, I started really working on him, finding his trails. I’d see the other three bucks together, and there were some bucks 6-points and smaller together, and all the does were together, but he was always by himself.”
Davis, who was a member of three national-championship hunter-safety teams at Forbush High School, where he graduated in 2007, saw the buck two more times after their first meeting and before their final one. He saw him on Monday while he wasn’t hunting, and he was in full velvet. He had hunted on Saturday, opening day for archery hunters across North Carolina, and seen the buck 80 to 85 yards away.
“Wednesday was the first time I really got to hunt him after Saturday,” David said. “I could have hunted, but had a cold, and I didn’t want to go out there coughing and run him off. When I saw him Saturday, he was on one of the trails I’d found, but not on the trail where I was sitting. I got set up on that trail Wednesday.”
Davis said the farm he hunts has perfect habitat to grow big bucks, and he’s been helping the process along. Experimenting with a number of mineral supplements, he came up with the right mix in January 2014, and he’s been using it ever since. In addition to helping build up a buck’s rack, it’s wound up being quite an attractant.
“They will come to it every day,” he said. “I take it away a couple of days before I’m going to hunt, and when I put it back out, they smell it and come running.”
Davis got off work at 5 p.m. on Wednesday and headed into the woods. He’d found a big laurel bush within range of the trail he’d seen the buck using on Saturday, and he crawled into the bush, using it as a natural blind.
At about 6:15, the big buck showed up. It marched all around him, licking up the minerals, before presenting him with a shot at 6:30.
“He worked his way around and around me, but there are a lot of places where I couldn’t shoot through the laurel,” Davis said. “Finally, he gave me an opportunity.”
Davis drew his Bowtech compound, and at 32 yards, his 125-grain Thunderhead broadhead went cleanly through both of the buck’s lungs. The deer ran 75 yards, tumbling down a steep hill, making enough noise that Davis had no trouble finding him.
The buck had a striking, white rack with a 16 ½-inch inside spread and beams that measured 22 2/8 and 22 3/8 inches long. It appears to be a 5x5 mainframe with five sticker points on the right beam and 11 on the left. The total measurement of all non-typical points was 58 3/8 inches.
“He’s got three little strips of velvet left, about an eight-of-an-inch wide by 4 to 6 inches long, and they’re in places where he couldn’t get to to rub off,” Davis said. “He had a couple of places on his horns that were scratched real bad, like he’d been caught up on a barbed-wire fence, and one of the trails I found he was using crossed a barbed-wire fence.”
Editor's note: This hunter's story has been called into question by NCWRC officials. Click here to read the full story of the investigation.