With over two months of the 2016 N.C. deer season remaining, Stokes County’s Rich Roberts filled his last buck tag on Oct. 23 with a massive 200-pound eight-pointer boasting 23-inch main beams and 4 1/2-inch bases. A buck of a lifetime for many, it’s the second largest buck Roberts has ever taken with a bow. And it happened to be on the same stand he took a Pope and Young from just a few years ago.
Roberts is a trophy hunter and routinely passes on young bucks to promote the future on his hunting properties.
“I manage by being extremely selective on the deer I take,” Roberts said. “If you let them grow, a lot of them will survive to the next year and you can get the opportunity at something to be proud of.”
Roberts lives and breathes deer hunting. Employed by Stokes County for most of the year, Roberts is also a well respected taxidermist at Elk Creek Taxidermy (336-593-8307) and he films deer hunts for EC Media, including many of his own deer kills. And his camera equipment almost thwarted his opportunity to take this latest trophy.
Killing a trophy buck is a tough feat for all hunters, and when video equipment comes in to play for a bowhunter doing it all by his self, the plan doesn’t always come together easily. But, Roberts constructs a winning strategy when it comes to planning, and that has brought him good success.
Roberts carefully plans each of his hunts, making absolutely sure his scent control is secure and all variables are under control.
On the evening of Oct. 22, the weatherman was forecasting perfect conditions for the following morning, and Roberts knew it was time to hit one of his special stands where he had taken several tremendous deer. So in the wee hours of the morning on Oct. 23, Roberts headed to the honey hole along the ridge covered in mature white oak trees with his video equipment. He only visits this stand when conditions are 100 percent perfect.
Roberts got into the stand real early and got the camera arm set up and pointing in the direction he hoped a good deer would arrive. As daylight neared, he started hearing bucks sparring on the ridge approximately 200 yards away. As every minute passed, his excitement grew in hopes of a true trophy showing up.
“They were going at it pretty strong going back and forth for 15 minutes,” he said.
But then as daylight arrived, the sparring ended and a couple of does walked up and started eating the white oak acorns scattered all over the ground. A few minutes later, the bucks started sparring again off in the distance.
“I could hear them running down the hill towards me, but they turned and headed away out of ear shot to the south,” he said.
Roberts wasn’t sure if that was the end or not. But, when a doe showed up trotting along from the direction the bucks ran, his hopes began to rise again. And when he started hearing a deer grunting from behind the doe, he knew it was getting ready to happen. However, he started to notice a problem. If the buck followed the doe, the camera would be right in the way, preventing a shot on film, and the doe he was trailing was heading away and out of bow range. There were two maples that would provide a perfect place for Roberts to draw back and make the shot. And that is exactly what happened.
“The 8 point eases around from behind me and stops right between the two maples. I leaned over my camera arm allowing it to rest on my waist and shot him at 12 yards,” he said.
As bad as he wanted to capture the experience on film, he couldn’t let a trophy buck at 12 yards get away. But it was worth it. His buck will score in the upper 130’s with an 18 1/8inch inside spread and a head full of 8 to 10 inch tines.
“My camera arm almost brought me crashing down, but I got him and I am very satisfied to tag out this season with such a nice couple of deer,” he said.