Opening day of the gun season in Alamance County couldn’t have been any sweeter for Hunter Moss, a 10-year-old hunter from Elon who shot a 147 3/8-inch, 11-pointer at 10-yards after his father, Steven Moss, grunted the deer in shortly after daybreak. 

The big buck was a familiar one that Moss and his 13-year-old brother, Harris, had nicknamed “Freak Nasty.” It took a couple of weeks of planning and hunting smart, but Hunter Moss took the big buck the morning of Nov. 14.

“We picked him up on trail camera a few weeks ago back in bow season,” Steven Moss said. “We moved stands and tried hard to figure out where he was coming from, bedding, and where he was going.”

But it all worked out in one of the oldest stands they have, after Steven and Hunter Moss climbed up well before daylight.

At 6:45, Steven Moss blind-grunted a couple of times, and within a few minutes, something was rustling in the leaves just out of range. He whispered to his son Hunter to get ready, because he heard something coming.  

“I saw him coming through the woods, and I told Hunter to get ready, because he was coming right to us,” Steven Moss said.

The deer closed the gap quickly, on a mission to find the other buck that was grunting. Hunter Moss tried to get the gun situated to make a good shot, but the stand was originally set up for a left-handed shot; his mother, an avid bowhunter is a southpaw. 

As luck had it, the buck trotted down the trail, approaching the trigger beam on their trail camera. When the camera clicked, the buck stopped suddenly, right behind two big poplar trees. Hunter Moss could see the buck’s head and neck, but he didn’t have a good shot.

“It was about the worst possible situation because the deer was standing there at 10 yards and his vitals blocked by the poplar trees. Hunter knew he didn’t have a shot yet,” Steven Moss said.

Getting nervous, the deer started looking in every direction. After a few minutes, the deer put his head down, giving the young Moss an opportunity to get into position. But when he shifted to get his gun in position, the deer jumped into the air.

“When the deer jumped, he jumped out in front of the trees giving Hunter a perfect quartering shot,” Steven Moss said. 

Seconds later, Hunter fired his .234, hitting the buck in the engine room and sending it through the woods, out of sight. 

Harris Moss heard the shot from his stand and immediately called Hunter to hear what had happened. 

Steven Moss could only smile, and then grin from ear to ear. The brothers got together, and they started trailing the deer with their father about 10-minutes later. The buck ran only 25 to 30-yards before dropping.

“Harris was a great big brother too. This is the biggest buck that has ever come off our property in Elon, and Harris was genuinely proud of his younger brother. It was an amazing and a truly unbelievable experience for all of us,” Steven Moss said.

The Moss family began planting high-protein food plots a few years ago, passing up young bucks and trying to improve the hunting on their property. A 147-inch buck the first morning of gun season would seem to indicate their strategy has been successful.

Click here to read about other big North Carolina bucks.