Chester Townes of Middleburg, N.C. can thank intuition that pushed him toward the road less traveled on Oct. 15, the first day of gun season for deer in eastern North Carolina. That’s when he killed a huge buck that’s almost certain to qualify for the Boone and Crockett Club’s all-time record book.

Randy Hayes of Hayes Taxidermy in Henderson green-scored the enormous 12-point typical at 193 2/8 gross and 171 3/8 net. The minimum score for the Boone and Crockett club is 170. Townes will have to wait 60 days before having the buck scored officially.

“The main beams really helped the score,” Hayes said. The right main beam measured 29 4/8 inches and the left taped 28 2/8 inches. The rack had extremely long brow tines — 12 6/8 and 9 3/8 inches — with the first tines on each beam measuring 11 2/8 and 11 1/8 inches.

Hunting in Vance County with his sons, Damian, 17, and Anjuan, 10, and 16-year-old neighbor Tyrae Fuller, Townes, a 41-year-old Glen Raven Mills process specialist, decided to walk to his 15-foot ladder stand rather than ride his ATV.

“Last year, also on the first day of gun season, my daughter saw the very same buck but on the other side of the woods,” Townes said. “I figure I’d been spooking him over there before when I rode my four-wheeler to this stand.

“For some reason I didn’t ride this time.”

Townes carried a scoped Marlin XL .270 rifle he’d bought at the 2014 Dixie Deer Classic, a gun he figures he hadn’t shot more than 10 times in order to zero the scope at 50 yards.

“It’s practically a brand-new gun,” said Townes, who was hunting on a tract of land.

“Other than my daughter seeing him, I knew deer walked a path close to a creek bottom where I had my stand,” he said. “The area I hunt is too close to a busy road for dog hunters.”

Townes had scattered corn on the ground about 30 yards from his stand, but the buck wasn’t headed toward those kernels.

We’ve had a lot of acorns falling, and the deer have been eating them,”  said Townes, who got in his stand around 6:40 a.m. 

“At 7:08 I heard something walking up the four-wheeler trail, and I saw the buck,” he said. “It took me a couple of minutes to get a good look at him, then I shot him behind the left shoulder. He was about 10 steps from my stand.”

The huge buck ran about 30 yards and dropped.

“I waited 30 minutes, got down and found the blood trail,” said Townes, who text-messaged his sons to come to his stand. When they arrived, he told Damian to climb into his stand and see where he’d shot the deer, then his eldest son climbed down and the two boys got a blood-trailing lesson.

When they reached the 215-pound buck, Townes then walked up close for the first time.

“All I could do was say, ‘Oh, my God.’ I knew every hunter in Vance and Warren County would want to hunt with me now,” he said. “I think most of them have called me.”