After a gut wrenching standoff last Sunday, Gibsonville hunter Shane Phillips got a second chance on a Rockingham County buck that he actually wounded last year during rifle season. On this occasion, he delivered a perfect shot that would seal the fate of a full velvet 16-point that weighed in over 200-pounds with an unofficial green score of 191 4/8-inches gross.
“I was in the stand between 4:30 and 4:45, said Phillips. “I had a couple of small does and bucks come out in the field, it was an average hunt.”
The average hunt suddenly took a turn for the worse when the wind changed direction. “They could smell me and they bolted,” said Phillips. “I didn’t know if the hunt was over, so I just started grunting and bleating.”
After 20 to 30-minutes of attempting to rectify the situation, Phillips managed to produce a yearling doe and a cow horn from the cover. “The cow horn came up under my stand and I noticed him just staring at the edge of the woods about 100-yards away,” he said. “I hadn’t seen the big buck yet, but the cow horn had his ears pinned back and the hair on his back was standing up. He wanted to fight.”
“When I could see the outline of the deer, I put my binoculars on him,” said Phillips. “I knew it was him. I actually shot this deer last year in the same field. I found hair and fat, but I never found any blood. I looked for him for half a day.”
After maintaining his trail cameras until March of this year with no sign of the big buck, Phillips wrote him off as a lost cause, until he picked him up on his cameras two weeks ago. “I almost fell out of my chair,” he said.
After the over-zealous cow horn realized he was no match, he left the scene, and the big buck made his move toward Phillips’ corn pile. “He got to about 45-yards and hung up,” he said. “He’d look at the corn, then he’d look at me, and then he started stomping his foot. I knew he was going to bolt; that’s what they usually do.”
“He came in to about 35-yards and did the same thing. He started looking and started stomping, and I started praying, please don’t let this deer run off.” Then he came in to about 30-yards, but he didn’t stomp his feet. He stopped for about twenty seconds, then came on in and started grazing on the oats and the corn that was left.”
When the buck presented a broadside shot, Phillips let the bolt fly from a Barnett Penetrator crossbow. That bolt, a Carbon Express PileDriver with a 2½-inch Rage broadhead, found its mark, and Phillips noticed the buck start to sway as it fled.
“I sat in the stand for a little while,” he said. “I thought I heard him crash, but I wasn’t sure. When I got down and went to where I shot him, there was blood everywhere. That confirmed it for me.”
After picking up a close friend, the two retrieved the buck from 80-yards into the wood line. The inside spread on this buck’s rack measured 26 ½-inches, with the longest tines at more than 12 and 14-inches.