Jadyn Featherstone’s N.C. Velvet Buck


Youth hunter kills Stanly County, NC buck on opening day

My 17-year-old daughter Jadyn Featherstone, her sister Sadie, and her brother Archer were excited for the 2023 North Carolina bow season opener. They became even more excited when a nice 11-pointer showed up on camera eating beans in a luscious stand of Stanly County soybeans.

We only received one day of photos, so we needed to scout and glass to find this nice deer. I was able to glass him late one evening the week prior to the opener. Two more scouting trips proved productive as the buck was seen each time frequenting the field.

I could not glass the bean field the evening prior to the opener, but Jadyn and Sadie did. To their surprise, they were able to catch first glances at the velvet giant (later to be named Skunk) feeding with smaller bucks and does. They marked the spot the buck entered the field and gave the report to me with much anticipation.

Opening day arrived and the plan was to attack that evening. However, due to ACT exams and sports, arrival to the bean field was delayed until 3 p.m. Normally that would be enough time in advance. However, upon arrival and a quick glass of the field, out stepped “Skunk” before an approach could be made. I had not hung a stand on that side of the field, so a climbing stand would be necessary. The decision was made to abort the mission and try for Sunday afternoon.

Sunday presented less than ideal wind conditions but was not terrible. After a trip to church, we made the trip back to the field. This time at 1:50 p.m. instead of 3 p.m. Sadie went to the ladder stand on the north side of the field while I helped Jadyn get set up on the south side.

The wind was blowing out of the west. So we set up on the east side of the major trail observed on the scouting trips. I left the field after aiding Jadyn and set up on the far west side of the field with binoculars and the spotting scope.

I received many text messages concerning mosquitoville and even a text from Jadyn that deer were blowing at her scent for over an hour with swirling winds. Hopes were dwindling as the girls were roughing out hours four and five in the trees. Sadie was reporting no deer sightings. However, Jadyn texted that she had seen a doe and two fawns. Maybe deer were starting to move. At 7:08 my phone started blowing up! It was an incoming call from Jadyn saying “Dad, I got him, I got him, he is huge, I saw the arrow from my crossbow zip right through him!”

I finished up my paperwork that I was working on while glassing the field and made my way toward Jadyn. I listened to the quick story of how he approached from the south with another smaller buck and walked perfectly broadside at 20 yards entering the beans. The tracking job then began and Jadyn was quickly finding blood. The deer ran approximately 75 yards and expired from the double lung shot placed by the Mission crossbow borrowed from good friends Adam and Naomi Keller. The big 11-point buck was in full velvet and had just started rubbing his brow tines to make two white streaks on them; thus the name “Skunk.”

Sadie made her way over to congratulate Jadyn as the picture-taking resumed. A long drag out to preserve the beautiful velvet was accomplished and the deer was brought back home to be processed and the hide and rack sent to the taxidermist the following morning.

Skunk was certainly a nice kill for any 17-year-old; but to kill a buck like that in full velvet was killing a North Carolina buck of a lifetime!

Great job Jadyn!



Bag A Buck Contest

Congratulations to Jadyn, 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.

See all the bucks entered so far, and upload yours at carolinasportsman.com/bag-a-buck-2023, or email photo and detailed info to images@carolinasportsman.com.

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