Finding antler sheds after duck season has become a passion of Kasey Ferguson and her husband, and when they found the right-side shed of one particular deer they’d been watching on camera, they felt blessed. The next year, they found the complete pair of the same buck’s shed antlers. At that point, Ferguson decided she wanted to harvest that buck. After hunting it hard the past couple of seasons, she finally killed it on Dec 8.
“After finding that first shed in what we believe was this deer’s second year, we found the pair the next year. My husband was in another field and called to tell me he’d found the buck’s right side antler again. I ran over and I spotted the left side antler about 10-feet away,” Ferguson said.
“It’s still so surreal, and after hunting the same deer for as long as I did, and putting in the time I did and getting so much help from my husband, it’s a really bittersweet feeling,” said Ferguson.
Ferguson killed her trophy on a private farm that sits on the border of Alamance and Randolph Counties that was once owned by a man named Johnny, who passed away in recent years. His widow gave Ferguson permission to hunt the land, which is about a 20-acre tract. When Ferguson and her husband found a dead 150-class buck on the property, she knew this was a good spot to hunt.
“We started seeing one 8-pointer on camera and we nicknamed him Johnny after the previous landowner, who was a friend of my dad’s. Johnny was a smart deer, only showing up on trail cameras during the night and very early in the mornings. I saw him while hunting only one time last year during bow season, and I couldn’t get a shot at him,” said Ferguson, who decided not to shoot at any other deer to keep Johnny from feeling pressured.
“I went many, many, many times without seeing a single deer, and I was getting a little discouraged,” she said.
On opening day of bow season this year, Ferguson saw two bucks, but neither was the one she was looking for. She let them both walk, then took a trip to Ohio, where she arrowed her first Pope and Young buck. This helped her take some of the pressure off herself.
“I was blessed with a Pope and Young buck, and now I felt like no matter how badly I still wanted to kill Johnny, I was happy knowing I’d killed a trophy already,” she said.
On the morning of Dec 8, Ferguson’s husband readied the kids and drove them to school so she could get in the stand extra early. She felt good about her chances that day.
“I can’t give my husband enough credit for helping me. I couldn’t have done it without his help. I was in the stand well before daylight thanks to him,” said Ferguson, who said she is terrified of the dark, and prayed her whole way to the stand and while in it.
The super early start turned out to be the difference. Johnny showed up before she could even see, and when daylight finally broke, there stood her long-time goal, 20-yards away from her.
“It was still too dark to see, and the ground was cold and crunchy, and I heard something walking. I thought it was an old cow that walks around the property, so I tried to forget about it. But when it got light enough to see, I realized it was Johnny, and he was already at the corn pile eating,” she said.
Ferguson shot the buck from a Lock-on stand with her Weatherby .240 with a Leupold scope. She is currently studying taxidermy under Andy Speer at Montgomery County Community College, and is planning to mount her trophy herself.
Click here to read about other big North Carolina bucks.
Post your big buck story to our Bag-A-Buck contest to be eligible for monthly prizes and our year-end grand prize.