The Big 8
Here is a little story leading to wife, Cathy Icard’s harvest of her nice Lincoln County trophy buck.
I have about 20 acres in Lincoln County, NC and have had this property for my third year. I have been managing it every year, passing on some nice younger bucks. This buck my wife shot showed up last year in early summer and was around 3.5-years-old I think, and let him walk for another year.
He made it through the 2022 season, and when the summer of 2023 came around, he started showing up again and gained some length on his tines, along with some character on his right main beam. I’m thinking he’s 4.5- to 5-years-old this year.
When the season started, this buck did not show up any during the opening week. But the second week, he showed up on Sept. 14 and 15 in the evening, and I told myself I was gonna go in and hunt him on Saturday evening on the 16th.
Well my wife hunts as well, but after the loss of our oldest son Daniel 2 years ago, she hasn’t hunted any. But she saw the pictures of this buck and said “I want to go sit in the stand with you,” and I didn’t hesitate to answer and said “sure, we will go sit together.”
Well Saturday evening came around and we headed to the property. I dropped her off at the stand and I went back and parked the truck and walked back and climbed up into the stand with her and got everything settled in and ready. This Buck had showed up in the previous two evenings around 7:20 to 7:40 and we got in the stand at 5 p.m.
A different deer shows up
Around 5:45, a nice 7-pointer came in with a few does and my wife was like, “let me shoot him.” I said no because he’s only 2-years-old and will be a good buck in a few more years. And I also said just be patient, and if that Big Buck stays on his pattern he will show up.
Well around 6:30 I was looking through binoculars at this 7-pointer when another deer behind the feed site about 15 yards in the woods caught my attention. So I looked through the binoculars at this deer and knew immediately it was the Big 8-pointer, so I told my wife to get ready, it’s him.
She was getting excited already and she hasn’t even seen him yet, and it took a few minutes before he had circled around, trying to check his wind I’m sure, and he came in the opposite side of where he usually comes in on. And when she finally saw him walking in, Buck Fever was kicking in.
Well he walked into the corn, and the few does were eating too, and one doe was skittish already and spooked, causing the Big Buck to take off. But he stopped about 10 yards back, and I was praying that he would come back. He turned and started back to the corn, and I told my wife to get her crossbow up and be ready.
Then he came back into the corn and was almost broadside at 60 yards, and I told my wife “Cathy, there he is.”
The angle was good, and before I could get my binoculars up to watch the arrow placement shot, she had already pulled the trigger on her CenterPoint 400 crossbow. I heard the thwack and knew she hit him, but didn’t know where.
The search begins
The buck took off back the way he came in with his tail tucked. Out excitement was very high and Cathy was just shaking with excitement and was ready to get down right then to go look for blood, but I said give it a few minutes.
Well we got down and went to the spot he was standing to look for blood. We didn’t see any, but found the arrow with no blood on it, but it definitely had hair and the smell of the insides of the deer. So we knew right then she had hit the deer back a little far.
We walked about 75 yards in the direction he went, and no luck finding him or blood, so we backed out and called a friend of mine who had a bloodhound that tracks deer. We came back 3 hours later with the dog and spent 2 hours trying to find him with no luck.
The wife was so disappointed and apologizing to me for making a bad shot, and I said “it’s ok babe, and that’s just part of hunting, and not every shot will be perfect.”
Then it rained all day on Sunday and we weren’t able to go look for him again until Monday morning around 9:30 a.m. with a veteran buddy of mine and we started grid searching the property. After about a hour, we both decided to go to the area we found some guts on the ground Saturday night and start looking in the other side of the creek.
We got about 30 yards apart and started waking and about 75 yards into this grid search when Kenny yells “there he is” and I’m like “you’re joking right?” And he’s like “man I’m not; there he is,” and I walked down to look, and the the Big 8-pointer laid piled up. We had been all around this buck Saturday night with the dog, but never went on the other side of the creek where he was.
I FaceTimed my wife at work and showed her that we found him, and she just smiled. When she got home from work we went to my brother’s house to take some pictures with her and the buck, then skinned the deer out so we could take him to the taxidermist.
I was determined to find her deer even though I knew the meat was no good by then, and the good Lord blessed us with finding that Lincoln County trophy buck.
Bag A Buck Contest
Congratulations to Icard, who is now in the running for our monthly prize of a free 1-year subscription to Carolina Sportsman Magazine, a Mini Maglite, an 18-ounce Yeti Rambler, and other prizes, as well as our Grand Prize, which includes a 3-year-subscription to Carolina Sportsman Magazine, a 2-day two-person hunt at Cherokee Run Hunting Lodge in Chesterfield, SC, and other prizes to be determined.