Savannah Banner kills 18-point buck in Rockingham County

18-point buck weighed about 180 pounds

Savannah Banner killed an 18-point buck on Nov. 26, 2023 in Rockingham County, NC. She shares her story with us here:

I am originally from Stanley, NC. I moved to Mayodan, North Carolina a little over two years ago and I’ve been on the hunt for a Rockingham county deer ever since. I’ve hunted my entire life with my dad Kenneth Banner, but since moving, it’s been a learning experience on where to set up my stands, how to monitor deer movements and just doing everything by myself was different.

I’m an avid bowhunter, and all season I’ve been after a wide 8-point that’s been on my camera several times, but haven’t had any luck catching him in the daylight. I decided after coming home from a 10-day horse show in Oklahoma to no daylight pictures of bucks that I was going set up a new location on a creek bottom where I felt like the bucks were holding up during the day and staying secluded.

On Sunday, Nov. 19 I put up a ground blind in the bottoms and set up a trail camera to see what was coming through. I told my fiancé, Jesse Hopper, that I just had a good feeling that the deer were in that block. I hunted the spot one morning that week, then on Thanksgiving morning I went in to check my camera before heading off to a family function. I had a few pictures of this deer passing through and was totally shocked! I jumped up and down telling Jesse that I just had a gut feeling that’s where the deer were, call it luck or whatever you want but I was happy.

Time to put the bow down

I’d had a camera out at my other location (not even a quarter-mile away) for the entire season and hadn’t had a single picture of this buck. I was supposed to spend the weekend hunting with my dad in Person County, but after I showed him what I had on camera, he promised me that he wouldn’t be upset if I didn’t come hunt with him. I put down the bow, knowing that it was going to be hard to draw it back in the ground blind, and started carrying my Ruger .308. I hunted both morning/evenings on Friday and Saturday without much activity. So Sunday morning walking into the woods I was just thinking about how thankful I was to live this life and be able to worship Jesus from a deer stand, doing what I love. A lot of people spend their lives wishing that they could do the things I take for granted.

Not long after I sat down in the blind, the funny part of this story happened. I started smelling something TERRIBLE. I couldn’t figure out what it was and had even convinced myself that some other wild animal, like a bear, had come through the area. As daylight broke, noticed I had a LARGE glob of scat on the end of my boot.. I had walked in with no flashlight and stepped in something. I got so tickled I texted my dad and asked if it counted as coverup scent because my blind was smelling rough.

I scraped my boot off with a stick and settled in. About 10 minutes later at 7:05 a.m., I heard something coming down the creek to my left and could tell it was a deer. When this deer came into my field-of-view, it was a pretty little 6-point. He went in front of me and started picking up food along the creek. I was watching him when I heard something else coming, and I could tell it was a heavy deer.

Buck ran about 100 yards

I scooted around in my chair to look, and when I saw him, I immediately told myself to NOT look at the horns and just get ready. He steadily followed right where the smaller buck had gone, and when he came into the gap in front of my blind, I shot him at 35 yards at 7:15 am. He took off down the creek in front of me and fell about 100 yards away. You bet I was saying my prayers as he ran!!

When he fell, I got the shakes and couldn’t even get my phone out to text “big buck down” to my dad and uncle. I called Jesse, who’s not into hunting at all and he started saying to bring the side-by-side and get him, he couldn’t wait to see it. We gave the deer about 30 minutes before going to him and when I got close, I just couldn’t believe I had got him. It’s a cool thing anytime you kill a big buck, but when you do it all on your own, it’s even more special.

The stinky scat paid off

He had a total of 18 points. One of those is a drop tine with several points coming off the back of his antlers and little stickers all over. He weighed around 180 pounds, my scale stopped at 171 pounds because I couldn’t lift him any higher, and his head was still on the ground. I know he was heavy, dragging him out of the creek and back to flatter land where we could get the side-by-side in was a challenge!!

You don’t get to kill a deer like that often and I’m so thankful for the harvest. God is good. I’m thankful for all the hours my dad and uncle have poured into me to make the outdoorswoman I am today. I couldn’t do it without y’all. I don’t have an official score for him yet, but he’s already dropped off with the taxidermist.

Also, stinky scat does make a good coverup scent. LOL

I killed this 18-point buck in Rockingham County, N.C. on Nov. 26, 2023 at 7:15 a.m.

–Savannah Banner; Mayodan, NC


Bag A Buck Contest

Congratulations to Banner, 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, a two-pack of Lowcountry Seasonings, 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 this 18-point buck, and all the bucks entered so far, and upload yours at, or email photo and detailed info to


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