Massive rack green-scored 199 4/8
Tory Pegg of Kernersville, N.C. isn’t likely to have another opening day of bow season like the one he experienced on Sept. 7. Just before dark in one of Guilford County’s pristine oak forests, Pegg released an arrow dead inside the engine room of a 199 4/8-inch, 31-point buck at only 10 yards away from his stand situated high in the treetops.
Editor’s note: Since this article’s original publication date, Pegg’s buck has been officially scored at 197 4/8 inches. This is the new North Carolina state record non-typical archery buck. Click here to read that story.
Yet, this buck’s arrival wasn’t quite a surprise for Pegg. He had multiple photos of the deer on his farm from last year and the deer’s antler mass increased at an unusual rate since his 2018 appearance.
“Last year, he was a 14 pointer with significantly smaller antlers that would score in the 115-inch range,” Pegg said. “We believe he was a 2.5-year old buck last year. That only makes him a 3.5-year-old buck this year.”
Over the past year, the buck grew at a tremendous rate, unveiling himself as a true stud to Pegg just recently.
“We started using Wright Whitetail Mineral on our farm this year and the deer really go to it. I am not sure if it has influenced the growth of this deer specifically. Regardless, the deer seem to love this stuff. And this buck was standing on top of the mineral site when I took the shot,” he said.
Pegg got a photo of the deer early in the summer. And then the week before the N.C. Archery Season opened, the deer showed back up making an almost daily scheduled appearance in the afternoons. In fact, the week of the Saturday opener, the deer was on camera both Thursday and Friday afternoon around 7 p.m. each day.
“I saw antlers everywhere”
Pegg knew it was a perfect opportunity to get the deer in his sights long before the rest of the local hunting community started stirring up the woods.
Pegg slipped into the stand at 4 p.m. that afternoon and sat motionless with his Mathews bow in his lap. He didn’t bother hanging the bow like most people do in the stand, because he knew the buck was going to show up in just a short time.
At a few minutes after 7 p.m., he saw movement 50 yards away from his stand. It was a doe slipping through the hardwoods on the way down the path. And behind her was a small cowhorn making his way through the woods. It wasn’t the big buck he was hoping for, but there was plenty of daylight left. Five minutes later, something caught his eye in the hardwoods.
“I saw antlers everywhere and I knew it was him. Kind of hard to mistake this deer,” he said.
The deer stopped at 35 yards with his head down. Pegg quickly grew anxious as the deer feasted on acorns along the forest floor.
“I was shaking like a leaf! I knew it was about to happen!”
Buck goes on high alert
Several minutes later, the buck continued through the woods creeping closer and well within bow range. But then the deer stopped suddenly at 20 yards and threw his head up. Pegg almost turned white and passed out. Something was wrong. The deer was in alert position with head up and looking right toward Pegg’s location.
“It was hot and steamy and I felt sure he was going to smell me and run off. He was smelling hard and licking his nose. I had doused myself all over with Dead End Odor Zone and I was praying it was going to work and keep this deer at ease,” he said.
And it did. The buck dropped his head and continued heading for Pegg’s target location, the mineral site situated only 10 yards away from his tree. A few seconds later, the deer arrived and was standing broadside. Pegg drew back and let his arrow fly.
“I smoked him right behind the shoulder. He ran about 25 yards and piled up. It was the best shot I have ever made on a deer in my life. But, I needed to make a shot like that with a deer like this one.”
His buck weighed approximately 170 pounds and preliminary measurements measure the deer to be 199 4/8’s inches.
“It’s wild at how big he grew in one year. It’s going to be tough to top this one.”