Mainframe 8-point buck had split G2 and a drop tine
Bud Long of Greensboro, N.C. killed a big Rockingham County buck on Nov. 8 that’s been green-scored at 156 inches. He had a history with the deer dating back to 2016. And as soon as he tagged this buck, another one showed up that looks eerily similar.
Long shot the buck in the chest with a straight on shot with a Knight MK-85 in .50 caliber from about 30 yards away.
“In 2016, I was hunting from the ground when a doe walked past me about 10 yards away. Then, a young buck walked past me in the same spot. He was about 20 yards behind her. His horns were real odd. They were wide and they came out and the ends of the points were palmated and turned up like little hands. It was so unusual, and I’d never seen one like it at all,” said Long.
Long could have easily killed the buck that day, but it didn’t even cross his mind. He’s killed his share of trophy bucks, and wanted to let this one grow.
He saw the deer once more, on camera in 2016. In 2017 his trail camera captured two images of it, and the antlers had grown some. They still had an even more unique look to them, and Long was excited to see that the buck was still around.
“From the side view, his horns looked like they were on fire. It looked like flames. I started hunting him then, and never saw him during daylight. I hunted him the whole rest of that season but didn’t see him anymore,” he said.
Flame is a no-show for all of 2018
In 2018, he didn’t see any sign of the deer, and thought maybe it had been killed elsewhere. Long didn’t spend as much time in the woods that year due to some medical issues, but he had cameras in place. After no sign of the deer, Long had pretty much given up on it.
Then this past August, Long and his grandson Ryan put out some Ani-Logics deer food on an oak ridge and put another camera up. “Flame” came right to it.
“Sure enough, we got pictures of him when he was in velvet in August. So we started hunting him, and I’d hunt him a little and Ryan would hunt him some. I ended up spending 31 1/2 hours on the stand from September up until I shot the deer,” he said.
Throughout that time, Long’s camera was capturing photos of Flame at night, but not during daylight hours. That changed just before Nov. 8. Finally Flame came in around 9:30 in the morning to eat on two separate days.
On the morning of Nov. 8, Long hunted throughout a windy few hours, then met his wife for lunch. He told her he felt like he was wasting his time hunting Flame, and said he should probably shift his time to finding another deer elsewhere on the property to hunt.
After lunch, Long took one last shot at the elusive buck. He hunts from the ground and likes being able to stay on the move. When he set up after lunch, he went back into the woods not quite as far as he normally does. And what a difference it made.
Last chance proves fruitful
“At 4 o’clock (p.m.), he came right in, and I shot him. He was walking straight toward me and I shot him straight on. He fell right there,” he said.
“From the side view you could tell it was the same buck, but he had developed his horns (since 2016). We measured him and he was almost 22 inches wide, and weighed around 200 pounds,” said Long.
After Long killed the buck, his grandson retrieved the camera and saw that another buck — this one a 9-pointer — has begun visiting the area.
“He’s as big as Flame was. It’s the first picture we’ve ever gotten of this deer, and his antlers have a little bit of the same thing going on as Flame had on his antlers. This deer is definitely some kin to flame,” he said.
After such a long and challenging process to finally kill Flame, Long said it’s a special treat to have another shooter show up so quickly to keep the fire burning in him and his grandson.
Click here to see another story on Bud Long, this one of a 14-pointer.