She avoided buck’s area during the rut, returned for Dec. 20 kill
Tammy Tucker of Kannapolis, N.C. tagged a 140-inch Stanly County trophy 9-point buck on Dec. 20.
Tucker isn’t like a lot of deer hunters. A veteran bowhunter, she vowed recently never to pick up a deer rifle again; that’s how much she likes hunting with a bow.
But what makes her, and her husband, Bobby, different is that when the rut arrives in their neck of the woods — a 600-acre lease in Stanly County — they try to leave the bucks alone.
“We had four bucks on our hit list,” she said. “We want to leave them alone. We want them to breed.”
So the Tuckers concentrate on the first two or three weeks of bow season, then spend a lot of time in the woods after the rut winds down, picking out days with favorable winds.
That’s the situation they were in when they headed to their hunting property on Wednesday, Dec. 18. Tammy Tucker had one buck in mind, the huge 9-pointer they’d had in trail-camera photos since bow season opened in early September.
“We had quite a few trail-camera pictures of him. We had hunted him pretty good at the beginning of bow season — until the patterns changed, until the does changed,” she said. “We stayed out of there after three weeks of bow season. I left that area.
Trail cameras were a big help with this buck
“I never saw him on foot until the day I killed him.”
The Tuckers keep up with their bucks via trail cameras.And when she felt like her target buck was finished chasing does in early December, she took up the chase.
“He started showing back up on the trail cameras. We had three daylight pictures of him,” she said. “We wanted to wait until he settled back down, when he wasn’t fighting or running around.
“We knew there were a couple of good days to hunt coming up, so we headed over there. I didn’t hunt in that area on Wednesday afternoon, because we were running just a little late. I didn’t go in there Thursday. But on Friday afternoon (Dec. 20), I got in there early.”
Tucker had sprayed the area around her elevated stand — a manufactured stand called “The Stump” — with Black Widow, a scent product.
“I had a little spike come in running a doe, then nothing after that,” she said. “Then, a little after 5, I heard something in the leaves. I could see him, but I pulled my binoculars up, looked and said, ‘Yeah, that’s him.’
“He was on a hill opposite from me, and he had to cross a creek to get to me. He got to the creek, then he acted like he wanted to go in the opposite direction. I knew if he got across the creek, he’d catch the stuff I’d sprayed on the way in. I had a can call, and I turned it up. He heard it and crossed the creek, and here he comes.”
Buck moves in, offers Tucker a shot
Tucker said the buck walked right in, then slowed down. She turned up the can call again, and he started walking toward her.
“He was 37 yards away, and he was getting into a good opening for me. I waited, and he came in. I had a shot at 25 or 30 yards. All I had to do was open a window,” she said.
But when she slid open a large window in the stand, it made a noise. The buck jumped and changed directions, giving her a closer shot, but she had to pivot and shoot out of a smaller window.
Shooting a Hoyt Defiant bow, an Easton Flat Line arrow tipped with a Rage SS85 broadhead, she drew back and let fly.
“He was at about 20 yards, and I made the shot,” she said. “I knew I made a good shot. But he took off up the steepest hill we have. I saw him, and he almost rammed a tree, and my arrow came flying out.
Arrow had broken off
“I was nervous about that. Then I got down and walked up there and found the arrow. It had broken off in him. About half of it was still in him. I felt a lot better after that.
“I called Bobby, and he came and helped me trail it a little that evening. We decided to come back in the morning, and when we did, we found him. He’d gone about 125 yards from where I shot him.”
The buck carried a wide, heavy 5×4 rack. The inside spread was 19 inches, and the back tines were 10 inches long. Tucker said a rough scoring session put the buck at about 140 inches.
Tucker, who has killed a wild turkey, a beaver and a stingray with a bow, said she will probably hunt exclusively with a bow from now on.
“I’m not gonna pick up a gun again,” she said.
Check out this other trophy buck Tammy Tucker killed a few years ago, also in Stanly County.