New N.C. archer grounds ‘Groot’
James McCue Jr. of Rochester, N.Y., met Jason Pickard after the Greensboro resident kept sending videos of large bucks north for the Pursuit Channel’s “Forever Wild Outdoors” hunting shows.
Such whitetails are scarce in the highly-pressured Empire State. So McCue, wanting to get in on the fun, moved to the sunny South last year.
His reward was a 200-pound Guilford County buck nicknamed “Groot.” He drilled the deer on Sept. 7, opening day of the 2019 deer season. Its 4×5 full-velvet rack gross-scored 155 6/8 inches.
“It was the same deer Jim shot at two years ago when he was living in New York and came down here,” Pickard said.
The last three years, the Greensboro electrical contractor used wirelesss trail cameras. He could watch bucks remotely at bait sites in five counties where he had permission to hunt.
However, this year the video setup had a glitch. So they hunted the semi-old-fashioned way. Periodically they walked to trail cams to check out memory chips and discovered this buck’s dinner time.
Groot shows up, but McCue was holding a camera
“Jason was hunting about 5 miles from me and my fiancée, Jessica VanSchaick,” McCue said. “I wanted to get a shot at Groot (named for the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ character with head protrusions).”
He planned to film the hunt as Jessica wanted a crossbow shot at a different buck that palled around with Groot.
At 4:30 p.m., she climbed into a pre-set Millennium 150 Loc-On stand 20-feet off the ground at the edge of the woods. McCue sat above her in a Muddy ladder stand to handle the camera.
“It was about quarter to 7 when a buck came out of a thicket straight across a field and walked (to a bait pile 25 yards in front of their tree),” McCue said. “She saw him first, recognized Groot, and handed the bow to me. I pushed the camera (attached to a flexible boom) to her.”
Shot in the shoulder takes Groot down
McCue checked the Ravin R10 crossbow that had a 5-power factory scope calibrated to 200 yards. Its bolt, which could fly at 400 feet per second, was tipped with a 100-grain Swhacker two-blade expandable broadhead.
“He kept facing me, not a shot I wanted to take,” the 31-year old said. “I was losing shooting light, maybe 15 minutes left. So at 8:02 I put the crosshairs on his left shoulder and pulled the trigger.”
The bolt zipped through the buck, which jumped, mule kicked, ran 40 yards, stopped for a minute, then fell in the field.
“After we climbed to the ground, we saw another buck out in the field,” McCue said. “I put my binoculars up and saw something I’d never seen – the second buck was trying to fight the dead buck.”
McCue’s 9-pointer weighed nearly 200 pounds live weight.
His best previous buck was a 10-pointer he arrowed in 2018, also in Guilford, with a 136-inch rack.
Arrowhead Taxidermy of Reidsville will produce a shoulder mount for the hunter.
Click here to read about a different Greensboro hunter who killed a 10-point beast in Guilford County on opening day of archery season.