Taylor Apple is all of 12 years old, but she has a deer-hunting resumé the equal of many veteran hunters.
On Oct. 30, Apple, a seventh-grader at Western Alamance Middle School in Altamahaw, N.C., added to her trophy collection by using an original Henry Ball Savage 10ML-II Series smokeless powder .50-caliber muzzleloader to drop her finest trophy, a 5x5 141-inches Guilford County trophy.
The gun belongs to her father, Guilford County law enforcement officer Craig Apple.
“I got an 8-pointer the day before that,” Taylor Apple said. “It was getting dark, and I was hunting with my dad.”
The buck carried a rack with 12 total points, a 5x5 main-frame rack with two stickers.
“She passed up some really nice deer last year, so she had some good bucks to try this year,” Craig Apple said. “She really wanted to shoot a big deer, and the 8-pointer was 18 inches inside. She missed a nice deer last year, and it tore her up. She said, ‘Daddy that was a big one, and I screwed up.’”
The Apples’ two-man buddy stand was at the edge of a thick cutover near a power line cut-through.
“It was a well-camouflaged box blind about 8 or 10 feet off the ground,” said Craig Apple, who has taught his daughter to be particular and let smaller bucks walk. “She’s killed six deer, and four of them have been with the muzzleloader, a really terrific gun.”
She didn’t have a problem recognizing this deer as a big boy.
“When he came in, I got all excited, but before I could see it I was playing a Pokémon Fighting game (on her I-pad),” she said.
Her classmates were dumbfounded.
“They were, like, ‘Wow!’” she said. “I think most of the boys were jealous.”
Craig Apple said he hadn’t seen the 12-point buck before because he doesn’t use trail cameras.
“I think (checking photos) puts too much pressure on an area,” he said. “You can spook a buck you never see or put out your scent even if he doesn’t see you, and he won’t come back.”
Apple said he believes 2017 has been a great season for big bucks because doe numbers are down.
“We haven’t seen a lot of does this year,” he said. “I think it might be because coyotes are killing a lot of deer. So with fewer does, you get more bucks on the move, looking for the few does there are.”