The 14-point nontypical buck was in full velvet
Brian Thomas of Angier, N.C. was hunting in Wake County on Oct. 6 when he killed a 14-point nontypical buck still in full velvet. The deer’s unique rack baffled the hunter when he first saw it. And he’s still baffled by it a full week later.
“I’ve just never seen anything like that. When I first saw it, I was trying to figure out what the deer had on top of its head,” he said.
Thomas has trail cameras around his hunting area, and he’s gotten photos of several deer that come by regularly. But he’d never seen this one — not in the flesh or on camera. The day he killed it, he was hoping to see a 10-point buck he’s been watching for several years. And he almost pulled the trigger on a smaller 8-pointer moments before seeing the 14-point nontypical buck.
“I’ve had my trail cameras up for probably, since July. And I never saw him on camera. I was actually hunting a 10-pointer. I saw an 8-pointer come out. He was a tall 8-pointer and had pearl white on his antlers. A real pretty deer. I got ready to shoot him,” he said.
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But just before pulling the trigger, Thomas noticed three does step out behind the 8-pointer. He had a feeling a bigger buck was following. So he stayed put, waiting in his tripod overlooking a bean field.
14-point nontypical buck shows up
Around 6:40 p.m., that bigger buck stepped out. But it was being careful, keeping its head tucked down and walking along tight to the edge of the bean field. Thomas kept his eyes on the deer.
“He kept strolling along the edge of the field and wouldn’t pick his head up. Whenever he stopped, he picked his head up a little over the beans. And I was like ‘what in the world is on his head,’” he said.
He knew it wasn’t the mainframe 10 he was targeting. But he really didn’t understand exactly what he was looking at. The deer put its head back down and continued walking. Hoping for a still target to shoot at, Thomas whistled at the buck. But the deer kept on moving.
“He didn’t have a care in the world I was there. Finally, I had to holler at him. And when I hollered at him, he picked his head up and he turned and looked at me. He was standing broadside,” he said.
Thomas didn’t waste any time. He shot the buck at about 170 yards with his Thompson Center muzzleloader. The deer ran about 20 yards before dropping. The hunter climbed out of his stand and went to the deer. He couldn’t believe what he was looking at.
Jawbone shows buck was 7+ years old
“Whenever I got down there, I’m telling you. I about had a heart attack. I was like ‘what in the world is on this deer’s head.’ He was just massive. He wasn’t very wide, but the mass on his antlers — I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.
Aside from being in full velvet, the deer had double drop tines. The bases measured 7+ inches around. And in some places, the antlers maintain a full 6 inches in circumference all the way to the tips. The deer’s antlers were covered in full velvet, with no tears or signs of shedding.
An NCWRC biologist said the deer lacked enough testosterone to properly form its antlers and likely stayed in full velvet all season.
Once Thomas saw the deer up close, he didn’t know how to handle the antlers to avoid messing them up. He called his taxidermist, Billy Hull of Fur-n-Feathers Taxidermy. Hull told Thomas to bring the head to him right away so he could preserve it properly. They also pulled the jawbone of the deer. Using it, Hull aged the deer at a minimum of 7-years-old, and said it’s probably even older than that.
Hull hesitated to green-score the buck due to so many intricacies in its nontypical rack. Thomas is hoping to have the mount back in time to have it officially scored at the 2021 Dixie Deer Classic.
Congratulations to Thomas, who is now entered in our Bag-A-Buck contest, making him eligible for a number of great prizes, including the grand prize which includes a 2-day, two-man hunt at Cherokee Run Hunting Lodge. Click here to view the Bag-A-Buck gallery or to enter the contest yourself.