Brandon Bowman proved on Sept. 12 that it doesn’t take a big piece of land to produce a big buck. That’s when Bowman, from Madison, N.C., connected with a 10-point, 162-inch monster on a 10-acre tract in Rockingham County. 

The 10-pointer was running with a bachelor group of four to five bucks,” Bowman said. “They were coming in during the daylight in the afternoon for the last few weeks.” 

Bowman knew he needed to get on this buck early in the season because there were very few does in the area to keep the bucks engaged.  

“I have a lot of bucks on this tract, with just three different does. When the rut comes in, the bucks usually disappear on this piece,” he said. “It’s one of those places you have to hunt early season to get it done before the rut begins.” 

Bowman slipped into the stand on opening day and saw a few deer, but the bachelor group bucks failed to arrive. The next day, Sept. 11, he was walking into his stand just after 5:30 p.m. when he heard deer running away.

“I saw white tails everywhere, and I could tell several of them were bucks,” he said.

Bowman climbed into the stand anyway and ended up seeing a few deer that afternoon, but his big 10-pointer wasn’t among them. He left the woods with his head held low. 

The next day, Bowman realized he had left his Thermocell in the woods and went back to the stand to pick it up and check his trail camera to see what deer he ran off. And this is when terror came over him. 

“The big buck was there with the other bachelor bucks the day before. I did run him off,” said Bowman, who was sickened by the photos but decided to go ahead and hunt the stand since he was already there, settling in at 5:15 p.m.

A half-hour later, a big 7-pointer came in, a buck he recognized as one of the big 10-pointer’s regular travel companions. The buck ate on the bait pile for 30 minutes, then slipped back into the bush, leaving Bowman concerned. 

“The 7-pointer and the big 10 traveled together and were together the day before. This worried me,” said Bowman, who finally saw the bachelor group with about 15 minutes of shooting light left. 

However, the big buck was weary and stayed well out of range while the remainder of the bachelor group feasted on corn and acorns. It appeared nervous and kept circling around, in and out of sight.

“It was getting darker all the time, and I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen at this point. But, I saw a big bodied deer with long tines coming in during the last few minutes of light,” said Bowman, who wasn’t sure it was the big buck, but knew it was a big-bodied deer with a nice set of headgear. 

When the deer got broadside, Bowman let his arrow fly and watched the illuminated nock disappear right where he was aiming. It reappeared moments later, and the deer took off down a hillside. A few seconds later, Bowman heard his trophy buck crash and finally felt a sense of accomplishment. 

“When I put my eyes on him, I realized he was a whole lot bigger than he looked on the photos. He is by far my best and I was very proud to get him,” Bowman said. 

Bowman’s buck taped out to 162¼ inches gross, with an 18-inch inside spread and several 11-inch tines on each side of its rack.