Last hunting season, Holden Barley acquired a 20-acre plot of hunting land in Guilford County, and like many hunters do, he immediately hung a trail camera. Deer, including a number of bucks, began showing up right away, and he saw two in particular that caught his eye, including the biggest buck he’s ever killed with a bow last week, a 178-pound deer that was gross green-scored at 140 7/8.

“The main one showing up on camera last year was a nice 10-pointer that I guessed his rack to be around 135 inches or so, and that’s the deer I was going for, but I haven’t gotten him on camera yet this year,” Barley said.

And even though that deer stopped showing up, another one his trail-cam caught last year continued coming. That’s the deer that Barley shot.

“My buddy Jeremy Evans nicknamed him “Without a Paddle” because of the way his right beam paddles out towards the end. I thought he might go 125 (rack measurement), but another friend said 140. All the photos he was showing up in this year were during sporadic times and during the full moon phase, so that Monday night, with the moon down a little, I made the decision to give it a shot the next morning,” he said.

Barley got up super early, wanting to get in the stand well before light. He showered in a scent-killing product called Invisib-oil, then slipped into his stand around 5:45 a.m. to give the woods time to settle back down well before first light.

Once daylight came, deer began showing up right away. It was mainly fawns, but soon, Barley saw a buck that drew his interest. It wasn’t Without a Paddle, but it was a 7-pointer that is always with the big buck on trail-cam photos. Barley didn’t waste any time readying himself.

“When I saw that 7-pointer that is always running with Without a Paddle, I stood up, eased my Elite bow off the U-slide bow hanger, and just waited. It wasn’t long before Without a Paddle showed up. He walked right in at 15 yards, quartering to me on his left side. I felt comfortable with the shot, so I drew back and set my pin right in the crease in front of his shoulder blade, but then he turned his head to the left, blocking my shot. I held still for about another 30 seconds and he turned his head back to the right and I let it fly,” said Barley.

Barley watched the 100 grain Ramcat broadhead make contact, but he thought it looked a little high. After waiting in the stand for 20 minutes, he climbed down, checked for blood and found some right away. After tracking the deer for about 150 yards, Barley and his friend Daniel Clarida were both surprised to see just how big the deer, and the rack were.

“Field dressed, he weighed 178 pounds. He’s my biggest bow buck to date, and his rough score is 140 7/8. I’m looking forward to what Mr. William Sawyer at Realistic Reproductions Taxidermy does with him,” said Barley.