Alamance County cattle farmer downs big 11-point buck

Travis Graves killed this 11-point buck in southern Alamance County on Nov. 3, 2018.

Buck green-scored 144 inches

Prime grade beef is not the only product Travis Graves is capable of producing on his 300-acre cattle ranch in southern Alamance County. On Nov. 3, Graves took down a massive 11-pointer with his black powder rifle. And it’s not the only big buck that has come off this stand either.

Ever since 2015, the Graves farm has produced several wall hangers scoring over 140 inches, including his son-in-law Ryan Hackett’s 148-inch buck and Graves’ daughter Amanda’s 149 2/8-inch behemoth that still stands as N.C.’s second biggest youth kill of all time. All three bucks were killed on the same stand.

Graves’ recent black powder rifle kill had 11-inch G2s and carried a similar trait to his daughter’s buck killed three years ago.

“My buck and Amanda’s deer had phenomenally-tall racks,” Graves said. “Hers was 14 inches from the base of his skull to the highest point and mine was 18 ½ inches tall. They had really high racks!”

Unlike many big buck stories, Graves’ buck was a newcomer to the farm. This buck was off the radar to say the least. The first time Graves saw this deer was 20 yards in front of him on the way to “the stand.” Graves was crossing through a creek to get into his stand overlooking the bottom end of the pasture and was surprised when the buck took off out of the bottom and into the pasture.

“Holy cow he is a good deer!” Graves said. “He was trotting with his nose to the ground.”

Graves snuck up to a brace post in the fence trying to get a shot at him on the ground. But, the deer just didn’t give him the opportunity for a clean kill. Graves only had one shot with his black powder rifle and he knew he had to make it count. After several failed attempts to get a clean shot, the deer disappeared back into the cover.

Luckily, the deer was unaware of Graves’ presence the entire time.

“The buck had his nose to the ground and was looking hard for does. I called Ryan on the phone from the stand and told him I had just seen a really good buck,” he said.

Hackett was hunting a stand just down the pasture from Graves and could potentially see the same deer at any moment.

“I told Ryan to be on the lookout and I was looking hard behind me too wishing he would show back up,” he said.

And 30 minutes later, the buck came back out. It was on a mission to find a doe and trotted right toward Graves’ stand. Graves was armed, ready, and waiting for the perfect moment.

“I kept telling myself not to shoot because he was making it easier with every step as he got closer to me. Then, he stopped quartering to me and I shot.”

The slug knocked the deer down immediately, but the deer got back up and stood there like nothing happened. A few seconds later, the deer trotted a few more steps and fell.

“He was a stud for sure and my son-in-law got to see the entire thing through his binoculars further up on the farm. It was a great day,” he said.

About Jeff Burleson 1311 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.

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