King of the Gap


I killed This 10-point buck with double split G2s and a 20-inch inside spread on Oct. 6, 2022 with my Winchester muzzleloader in Yancey County, NC.

I have hunted this property for the past 10 years. I had a few “shooter bucks” on camera before and during early season, but they were rarely coming in during the day. I have always hunted over bait and have two locations on adjoining properties with bait out. But not having much luck, I decided to try a different route. I stumbled upon a few good trails in an area I named The Gap. It was a small area just below the ridge line with a gap in between two laurel thickets. It had sign, bedding, and best of all oaks for food.

It was worth a shot to see if I could catch one of these bucks coming to or from bedding in daylight. On my second sit in The Gap at 5:40 p.m. on Oct. 6 I saw a buck coming in from behind me. Once I saw he had some width, my mind was made up and I never looked at his rack again. Shot placed right behind the right shoulder and out his chest.

I was surprised when we walked up on him. It was a buck I had never seen before, not even on camera. I had an 8-pointer in the area which I thought was what I pulled the trigger on, but once we came up on him, he was definitely a special buck. The King of the Gap. My first deer with a muzzleloader and my biggest buck yet. It felt great to change hunting techniques and move out of my comfort zone and be successful.

–Hogan Burleson



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