Two years ago, Patrick Williams of Belews Creek, N.C., tagged a giant, 195-inch non-typical whitetail buck on one of the Rockingham County farms he hunts, a buck that made the Boone and Crockett Club all-time record book. He did it again last week, but this time he used a bow to nail a 181-inch, 19-point beast that has a good chance to be the new state-record archery non-typical.
Preliminary measurements indicate that Williams’ buck, taken Oct. 25, will surpass the current non-typical archery record of 176 7/8 inches, taken in Halifax County in 2005 by Brent Mabrey.
This deer has been on Williams’ radar for several years. When he first saw it in a 2017 trail-camera photo, he knew it was time to schedule a meeting with the buck. This time, he would be ready for him with his bow in hand.
“He blew up this year and added a lot of bone mass,” he said. “I had a few pictures of him over the last few weeks during the daylight, and it was the first daylight photos I had of him in over a year. And with the pressure system coming in, I knew it was time to go after him.”
Williams, who prepares and maintains food plots and mineral stations year-round, had a stand area picked out between a feeding and bedding area in a large stand of hardwoods that were loaded with acorns. He felt the buck would be at ease in there, away from hunting pressure, and for the first time this season, the conditions were ideal last week.
“This was the first time I sat on this deer, and this was the first time all season I felt like it was the right time to go after him,” said WIlliams, who slipped into his stand at 4:30 p.m. As soon as he sat down, deer started showing up, beginning with a few does and two young bucks.
“Two young bucks started running does all through the hardwoods,” he said. “They were hitting horns, hitting trees, and just making a ruckus all afternoon. I think that is what got him stirred up, because he showed up downwind of these deer shortly after 6:30. I looked up and saw his big beams coming through the woods.”
The buck stepped out and started trotting towards the other deer, heading right towards Williams’ shooting lane. Knowing he would cross at about 35 yards, Williams got ready.
“As soon as he hit the lane, his trot turned into a run going after those other deer, and I felt like I missed my opportunity. I had my lanes clipped well, but I couldn’t get a clean shot,” he said.
The buck took off after the other deer and disappeared out of sight. Before he could feel too bad about his missed opportunity, Williams saw the does coming back, in front of him and to the right.
“That’s when I knew it was all getting ready to happen,” he said.
At 6:45, the buck came down the hill and stopped in front of his stand. Williams was at full draw, holding back an arrow tipped with a two-bladed Rage Hypodermic broadhead.
“I let the arrow fly and the deer dropped right into the path of the arrow,” said Williams, whose shot would have been low. “I would have missed him if he didn’t drop down at that perfect time.”
Williams saw a perfect hit, right in the sweet spot, and shortly thereafter, he heard the buck crash to the ground about 140 yards away.
“It was a beautiful hunt. The good Lord has blessed me beyond belief,” he said.
Williams’ buck has a 6x7 main-frame rack with six other scorable sticker points. The bases of the buck’s antlers were 7 and 6.2 inches in circumference, and the mass carried throughout the rack.
“His mass measurements carried mass all the way to the end of his antlers,” said Williams, who had the buck’s preliminary score done by a certified scorer.
The buck’s preliminary net non-typical score is 181 3/8, almost five points higher than Mabrey’s non-typical archery record buck from 2005. If Williams’ buck loses four inches or less during the required 60-day drying period, it will be the biggest non-typical ever taken in North Carolina with a bow. He said that it has too many deductions to make the Boone and Crockett Club’s all-time record book as a typical, scoring less than 170.
“The good Lord has blessed me with this deer and that is a fact,” he said.