Priscilla Blackburn’s 153-inch blackpowder buck

153-inch blackpowder buck was an infrequent trail cam visitor

My name is Priscilla Blackburn. I’m 31-years-old and have only been hunting for 10 years now. I was blessed enough to be able to take this NC Mountain Monarch on Nov. 11, 2020 during the blackpowder season this year.

This deer had only showed up on any of the the trail cams once. He made his debut on Oct. 2 around 2:30 a.m. at the stand where I killed my previous best, and first archery, buck on Oct, 14 of last year. I fell in love with the unique character his rack had, and after looking at all the pictures on the card, I said “I’m going to kill that deer!”

But truth be told, I never thought that it would actually happen. I wasn’t the only one who hunted the property and I am definitely the least experienced. Plus, I was told someone on one of the neighboring properties had been watching him all summer. And the deer practically lived there, but was strictly nocturnal.

Rain, rain, go away

As time went on and he never made another appearance, the daydreaming of tagging this buck subsided. There were a few other pretty nice bucks though that were frequenting the property. And when it had been raining almost constantly and pretty heavily for a couple of days, and the forecast called for a break the next morning (not to mention the rut kicking into full swing), I knew it was time to hit the woods and I knew exactly which property to go to! But which spot?

I got on the Huntstand app, which is a very useful tool for deer hunting in my opinion. It was one of my deciding factors that led to the harvest of this gorgeous whitetail. Anyway, I got on there and checked the wind for the particular spot I had in mind and it showed the wind should be absolutely perfect in the morning! Done deal, that’s where I was headed!

I was late that morning, I slept through my alarm. Again. I hurried to get woke up, even skipped my coffee and rushed to get ready, then drove to the property. I had to park a lot farther away from the trail than normal because there was no way I’d make it back out as soupy as it had become. But this also meant adding a very steep ridge to climb after crossing a creek that was a lot higher than usual. But it was the fastest, most inconspicuous path.

Huge buck shows up

I grabbed my gear and made the trek to the DIY shooting house as quickly and stealthy as I possibly could. After I finally made it, I secured the door, repositioned my seat, and got settled in. I unlocked the windows, prayed for God to bless this hunt if it be His will and then started watching the small clearing and ridge in front of me.

There are several apple trees scattered across the clearing that is around 1.5 acres. A little stream runs parallel to it and then a very steep ridge with thick cover on both sides makes it a perfect natural funnel. Sure enough, the Huntstand app was absolutely correct and the wind was taking my scent away from the area. It was a perfect set up. Everything was set into motion.

I’d sat maybe 45 minutes or so and hadn’t seen anything, so I figured I’d hit the grunt call. As I leaned forward to open the window, movement caught my attention to the right and I turn to see this enormous buck with a very impressive rack standing only 60 yards away. He’d snuck in on my blind spot. He had his nose up in the air, winding a doe I suppose.

Blackpowder rifle misfires!

I froze, and watched as he came closer and started making a scrape at one of the apple trees about 50 yards away. Something on the far ridge caught his attention, and when he turned around to investigate, it gave me the perfect opportunity to open the window and slide the barrel of the muzzleloader out. I quickly acquired him in the scope, and immediately saw he was my dream buck!

I took a breath, took aim and squeezed the trigger on my steady exhale. POP! It misfired. My heart sank and I was immediately stricken with confusion and disappointment, but I stayed motionless as he was looking right at me after that. But then, to my complete and utter surprise, he licked his nose a few times and went back to making his scrape.

I held the gun with one hand and slowly ducked down below view to dig in my pocket for another primer. I found it and the tool. I was so nervous and flooded with emotion that I dropped the primer. Twice. I took a split second to take a deep breath and tell myself to straighten up and be a hunter. Do what you need to do to bring down this buck.

153-inch blackpowder buck dropped on the spot

I metaphorically slapped myself in the face and then I got the primer in the tool, eased back up to see him now at 40 yards. I cocked it, dislodged and removed the spent one, replaced the primer, got a good hold on the gun and prayed. Lord please, please let it fire this time.

I took aim high in his shoulder, and squeezed the trigger. This time, the shot rang out and when the smoke cleared he was laying where he once stood. I shut the window and started thanking God, probably a bit loudly. I have never been so excited in my life. It didn’t take long for him to expire and I left the confines of the shooting house to see just how big he really was.

He green scored 153 inches on the dot. I’m still in shock and it feels almost like a dream. I may never kill one bigger, and I’m fine with that. This one is a mountain monster and has a pretty interesting story to go along!

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