Surry County hunter takes big buck that had disappeared

Steve Rabon was surprised to see this big 11-point buck after such a long absence, but he was ready for it, and dropped the deer in its tracks on Nov. 20, 2017.

Massive 11-pointer taken after long absence from trail-cam photos

Steve Rabon of Mocksville, N.C., had a huge whitetail buck on his trail cameras before deer season opened in his neck of the woods, Surry County, back in September, but he suddenly vanished.

“I thought he’d gotten shot or just run off somewhere,” Rabon said.

To his surprise, the buck showed back up at 80 yards on Nov. 20, and Rabon was ready. A second or two later, at 5:40 p.m., the 195-pound, 11-point buck was on the ground.

“I had a lot of trail-camera pictures of this buck in August, but after that, he’d only show up about once every three weeks, and always at night, but then, he got gone,” Rabon said. “Then, the night before I shot him, I had a picture of him at 2:30. It was the first time he’d been on camera in weeks.”

Rabon was hunting in a box blind on an oak flat that bordered a pine thicket. He had a corn pile in front of his stand, but that’s not what brought the big buck into range.

“He was trailing a doe,” Rabon said. “The doe came in first; she was in the corn pile, but she ran off when he stepped out. There was only one other buck I was going to shoot besides this one, and when I first saw him, just from the side, I knew it was one of the two I wanted to kill.”

Rabon put his 7mm Magnum to his shoulder,  looked through the scope and said to himself, “Yeah, I’d better shoot him,” then put a bullet through the buck’s shoulder and dropped him on the spot.

The big buck had a 5×4 main-frame rack with a sticker point on one left-antler tine and a small drop-tine on the same beam — much smaller than it had been in trail-cam photos.

“The drop tine was about 3 inches, but it looked like he got most of it knocked off; he had about an inch of it left,” Rabon said.

“What was so unique about this buck was the mass,” he said. “The bases were 6 3/4 inches long; they were huge. You don’t see mass like that on bucks around here.”

Rabon said his taxidermist scored the buck at 152 7/8 inches green gross, estimating that it would lose 3 or 4 inches before it can be officially scored after a 60-day drying period.

About Dan Kibler 887 Articles
Dan Kibler is the former managing editor of Carolina Sportsman Magazine. If every fish were a redfish and every big-game animal a wild turkey, he wouldn’t ever complain. His writing and photography skills have earned him numerous awards throughout his career.

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