Zack Doyle’s 11-point buck

11-point buck

11-point buck was special for many reasons

Zack Doyle of Midland, NC killed a big 11-point buck in Cabarrus County on Nov. 16, 2022. He shot the deer in a hardwood creek bottom adjacent to a bedding area while hunting from the ground.

Doyle had seen the deer before, and had trail cam photos of the deer. It was about 25 yards away when he shot it with his Bear Creek .350 Legend. After pulling the trigger, he watched the deer run less than 50 yards before it toppled over.

The 2022 hunting season was supposed to be the first one in which his young daughter Ava would spend time in the stand with Doyle. Unfortunately a tragic accident took her life before the season started. But he could feel her presence with him on the day he killed “Tripod.”

Doyle tells the story here:

“The buck that I call “Tripod” showed up on camera for the first time last October for the 2021 season. As you can see by the pictures, he’s unmistakable. I hunted him for weeks on end without a single daylight photo of him, then left for Alaska where I spent 13 days away. He showed one time during daylight in those 13 days, and by the time I returned he had broken his 3rd main beam completely off. I had an opportunity to kill him the next week, but chose to pass on him. Never saw him again in person, or on camera. I thought for sure he was killed by a neighbor.

This September, just a few days before archery season began, my wife and I lost our 4-year-old daughter Ava in a tragic accident. This year was going to be the first year Ava was going to get to go hunting with me. She was so excited, and was even helping me in the woods pre-season. Since she passed, I have been carrying a rock she painted in my right pocket every time I hunt as a good luck charm. It hadn’t been very lucky thus far. In fact, this is possibly the longest I’ve gone through a season without killing a single deer in at least 15 years.

About a month ago, Tripod showed back up on camera, nearly the same time he did last year. Again, not a single daylight photo or appearance. Couldn’t get him to mess up no matter what or where I tried.

On Nov. 15, after returning from an unsuccessful trip to Ohio, Tripod switched things up on me and showed up on a camera he hadn’t been on all year. I hunted that area that evening, and my Dad hunted where he had been previously showing. Wouldn’t you know it, Tripod makes an appearance in front of my Dad, at 40 yards. Dad pulled the trigger on his muzzleloader, which he decided to carry during rifle season for some reason, and only the cap fired. Tripod walked off.

That night, I told my wife about the rock I had been carrying, and that I thought maybe it was a bad omen. Maybe it was really unlucky. She suggested I carry something else instead, but I declined and told her I was sticking with my rock.

The following morning, my first hunt since that conversation, started out slow. I had seen two young bucks early and it didn’t seem like it was going to be much of a productive morning. At 7:30 a.m., he materialized out of nowhere from my right and walked past me sitting on the ground at 25 yards perfectly broadside. I squeezed the shot off, he ran less than 50 yards and piled up.

To be honest, I was overcome with emotion at that point. I laid flat on my back in the wet leaves and stared up at the sky for a few minutes and reached into my right pocket. My way of connecting with faith, my way of stress relief, and of self-reflection has always been alone in the woods. Only this morning I wasn’t alone. My little girl was with me, and I could feel her for the first time since she passed. I know she’s just as excited as I am to see this journey come to an end, but it’s only the beginning of a lifetime of sharing the woods with her.”

–Zack Doyle

Here’s the rock carried by Zack Doyle during his hunt.



Congratulations to Doyle, who is now entered in our Bag-A-Buck Contest and in the running for these monthly prizes and the Grand Prize package:

Monthly winners will receive:

The Grand Prize winner will receive:

You can be in the running for these prizes too by sharing your story and photo in our Bag-A-Buck gallery.

About Brian Cope 2745 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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