Josh Lawler and his dad, Aaron, are bowhunters who spent the latter part of August and the first half of September keeping tabs on a handsome 10-point buck near their home in southern Granville County.
Josh, a 20-year-old junior at East Carolina University, finally brought the surveillance to an end on Sept. 24 when he dropped the big buck, estimated to score in the 140-inch range.
“My taxidermist hasn't scored the rack, (but) it’s definitely the largest buck I’ve ever killed,” he said.
The Lawlers had trail-camera photos of the buck for more than a month.“The last pictures I got of the buck were four days before I shot him, and he was still in velvet,” said Lawler, who was in the same stand along a field edge the two days before he killed him.
“The night before I killed him, my dad warned me about going to the stand before daylight the next morning,” he said. “He recommended I not go in before daylight and wait until it was light enough to see.”
His father’s tip was spot on as Josh Lawler used binoculars to check out the area near his stand that morning, saw some movement, then the buck, standing under the stand, came into focus.
“His antlers were still blood-stained from shedding velvet,” Josh Lawler said. “I watched him until he sneaked out of the field.”
Then, Lawler called his father, who told him it would be smart to back out of the area and let the buck go back to its bedding area un-spooked.
He was back in the stand at 3:30 p.m., with a light wind blowing from the bedding area back in his face — a crucial piece of the puzzle.
“At 7:10, I heard deer approaching,” Lawler said. “A high-and-tight 7-pointer came into view and excited me, because I knew my buck kept company with (that) buck. I’d seen them together on many trail-cam pictures.”
Sure enough, the 10-pointer followed the smaller buck.
“The (7-pointer) was brave enough to wander into the field, but the 10 was cautious and stayed at the wood line,” Lawler said. “I knew I wouldn’t be able stand up or they’d see me, so I drew my bow sitting down.”
The bigger buck had walked along the woods line by then and was standing almost underneath Lawler’s stand. He unleashed a Rage broadhead from a Hoyt Vetrix compound bow.
“The shot was perfect and the buck only traveled about 50 yards before I heard him crash,” he said.
The buck’s rack is a symmetrical, main-frame 5x5 with a bladed crab claw at the end of the left beam.