11-point buck weighed 236 pounds
Don Hawkins hit the woods in Guilford County on Friday the 13th hoping to drop a buck he’d been watching on trail cams for some time. And what a lucky day it was. He arrowed his best buck, a 6×5 non-typical whose antlers green-scored 157 5/8 inches.
His cameras had been doing surveillance on the buck since July.
Hawkins is a good friend of Scooter Pegg and his sons, Hunter and Tory. Tory and Hawkins had made an agreement. They hunted properties with stands about a mile apart and had exchanged photos of two impressive-racked bucks. They agreed that neither would take a bow shot at the other’s deer.
“Like me, Tory had pictures of the 11-pointer. But I didn’t have any of his deer,” Hawkins said.
On Sept. 7, his young friend drilled the likely N.C. record non-typical whitetail. And Hawkins helped drag the 31-point, 199 4/8 inch monster buck from the woods.
Mutual respect helped both hunters kill trophies
“I’m just glad Tory’s deer didn’t walk out in front of me,” Hawkins said, laughing. “But when we texted (about their dilemma of two trophies living in close proximity), I asked ‘Are we crazy?’ Tory texted back one word: ‘Respect.’ And he was right. We respect each other. But it would’ve hurt to pass up that deer.”
Hawkins said “his” buck’s trail-cam images in 2018 showed a rack with 110 to 120 inches of bone. So it added a tremendous amount of mass, length and weight in a year.
He credited using bait corn mixed with Wright’s Whitetail Minerals for drawing the buck to his ladder stand. He said an Ozonics device that reduces human odor in the air also helped.
“Three of my last six bucks were shot in October downwind (of his stand) with the Ozonics machine working,” Hawkins said. “It definitely eradicates human air molecules.”
The Sept. 7 – 12 air temperature was hot. The mercury climbed as high as 95 degrees. But by evening of the 12th, a northeast wind began to blow. On Sept. 10 and 11, the 11-pointer showed up on Hawkins’ trail-cam photos at 6:22 p.m, and then again at 7:24 p.m.
“So I knew when he’d show up, and the cold front likely would put deer on the move the 13th,” he said. “The high that day was 77.”
Hawkins makes the most of small window of opportunity
He climbed into his stand at 4 p.m. and pulled up his 2009-model Elite GT 500 compound bow with a 30- inch draw set at 60-pounds pull weight. He had Carbon Express Mutiny arrows and 100-grain G5 T3 mechanical three-bladed broadheads at the tips.
At 7:18 p.m. Hawkins was surprised to see his buck slip to within 22 yards of his tree – and dead downwind.
“(The deer) knew something wasn’t right,” he said. “He stopped, stood a few minutes and lifted his nose. Then he walked to the bait (12 yards away) and began to eat.”
The buck didn’t present a great angle for a bow shot, but darkness was closing in and Hawkins knew he had to make a decision. He had confidence he could make the shot and decided to risk a small target. He aimed at the base of the deer’s neck where it joined the shoulders. This spot, when hit, usually creates an instant kill. If he missed, the deer would bounce away unharmed.
“He was quartering toward me,” the hunter said. “I put the 10-yard sight pin on that spot and released (the arrow). He fell in his tracks. I got down quickly and put another arrow in his heart.”
Hawkins said the buck weighed 236 pounds and featured 2 inches of fat from its rear end to its neck. And it had plenty of fat on its ribs and shoulders.
“I’m a Michigan native, but I’ve never seen one that fat, especially on Sept. 13,” he said.
Click here to read about another great Guilford County buck taken this year.