Buck’s rack measured 145 inches
After losing his hunting lease earlier this year, Alec Kearns of southern Granville County never would have believed that he would take home a 145-inch monster 10-point buck on a new property just eight months later, but that’s exactly what he did on Oct. 28.
Kearns is a procurement forester for Canfor Forest Products in Graham, N.C., and visits properties all over the northern piedmont for work. Losing his lease gave him the excuse to also look for more hunting land to hang a deer stand for the 2018 season, and shortly after Labor Day, he found just the place, and it was pretty close to his home.
The first thing he did was get a stand set up for his 15-year-old daughter Madeleine for youth season. He whipped an old food plot into shape on the new property and put out some corn. Within a few days, his trail cameras showed deer were pouring into the property, including a huge 10-pointer with numerous kickers.
“He was huge and one of the biggest bucks I have ever had on camera. I was excited about the new place and I had a real good deer in there,” he said.
Unfortunately, the big buck never showed for Madeleine, who didn’t get a shot at a good deer during youth season.
Kearns monitored his stand and was happy to see the big 10 was still coming by every now and then. He was nervous about making a mistake that would discourage the buck from coming back.
“My plan was to hunt differently, but I didn’t want to mess anything up because he continued to come in there,” he said. “I finally went to the stand during muzzleloader season and a good buck came in that I would have normally shot on any other property. But I had my eyes on one deer, and that wasn’t him.”
On Oct. 28, weather and wind conditions were favorable for hunting the stand, so Kearns slipped in for an afternoon hunt. Right away, several does came to the corn, but left quickly, blowing every breath. Kearns suspected something was awry, then two more does came into the corn.
Then he heard sticks snap.
“The buck charged into the food plot between me and the does. I took a quick glimpse, realized it was him, and found him in the scope. As soon as I pulled back the hammer, the noise startled him and he stopped dead broadside at 40 yards. I fired and a huge cloud of smoke covered everything, said Kearns.
And then the deer was gone. Kearns hoped the 295-grain Hornady HTP bullet had done its job. He climbed down to investigate and immediately found good blood. It was getting dark now, so Kearns shined his flashlight around and spotted the biggest buck of his life lying close by on the forest floor.
“Sometimes bucks look a little smaller when you walk up on them after studying them on trail cameras for so long, but not this time. He was as big as ever and I wasn’t disappointed the least bit. I called my wife and told her I killed Bullwinkle,” he said.
The buck, which Kearns killed on only his second time in the stand, had 12-inch G2s, 10-inch G3s, a 15-inch inside spread, and kicker points all over.
“I knew the deer was in there; only thing I did any different was pass on a buck that I would have normally shot. I am glad I did that,” he said.