Christopher Bagale of Clayton, NC was hunting in Wake County on Oct. 15, 2023 when he killed this buck. He shot the deer at 7:05 a.m. He shares his story here:
On Oct. 15, 2023 I got my target buck in Wake County. The 190-pound 9-point buck with a 19 1/2 inside spread was nicknamed Optimus Prime. The journey started with this deer last year as an 8-pointer showing up during the rut of 2022. He daylighted a few times during the month of October starting on Oct. 14, 2022, then disappearing after the second week of November.
During the 2023 turkey season, I found the right side antler that he had shed, so I knew that he had made it through the 2022 season. I never had him on camera during the preseason and was hopeful he would show back up. The start of the 2023 season, I had set my eyes on a new buck, but was still hopeful that Optimus Prime would still be alive and show back up.
On Oct. 15, 2023 in the early morning, while getting ready to head out to another stand, I checked my cell camera photos and realized that he showed up in front of my stand at 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. I decided I would try my luck there that morning, knowing that a cold front had just pushed through and this was my shot at seeing him.
After getting set up in my stand and ready about 15 minutes before legal shooting light, I could hear something working a scrape about 60 yards away. I knew a buck was close by, but wasn’t sure. At 7:15, I saw a big-bodied deer appear from the thick cover in front of me. I looked through my binoculars and saw him. Standing 60 yds in front of me was Optimus Prime.
I grabbed my .308 and pulled the trigger. He dropped right where he was standing. I couldn’t believe that he was there a year and a day from the first time I had him on camera, approximately 75 yds from where we had been the year prior.
Bag A Buck Contest
Congratulations to Bagale, 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.