Buck had hunter patterned for some time
Harold “Bug” Long of Roxboro, N.C. killed a trophy Person County buck on Nov. 11 after hunting the deer for three solid seasons. He shot the deer with a Knight MK 85 .50-caliber muzzleloader loaded with 100 grains of Pyrodex and a145-grain sabot bullet.
For a while, the buck got the best of Long, appearing on the retired N.C. Highway Patrol officer’s trail cameras within minutes of Long leaving his stand.
“I hunted him with bow and arrow, muzzleloader, and rifle but didn’t get a shot,” Long said.
The old Person County buck, with a heavy-mass mainframe 4×4, four abnormal points, and a gross green score of 161 inches spent its daylight hours in a bedding cutover and fed mostly during night at soybean fields.
“He was smart. Before I’d leave my stand, I checked (trail camera) chips near a food plot. I had pictures of him in the open, 5 to 10 minutes after I’d left. Sometimes while I walked to my truck. He was watching me,” said Long.
Some friends suggested he forget stealth, and to ride his truck as close as he could to his stand.
“We talked loud, played music with the truck windows down. And I’d go to the stand and one of them would drive away,” he said.
With evidence of dominant does in estrous, Long’s friends also suggested he put his ground blind as close as possible to the bedding thicket during a favorable wind.
The new tactics paid off
“I’d never hunted like that,” Long said. “I tried to be quiet. But they wanted to make as much noise as possible (and) to get in (the blind) and stay.”
Long’s ground blind was in an oak grove bottom surrounded by the buck’s thicket hangout. The hunter also made a couple of mock scrapes nearby, and smeared EverCalm scent on his shoe bottoms, nearby trees, and near his ground blind. This scent mimics deer scents at bedding areas and calms whitetails.
On Nov. 11, the tactic paid off. With Long in his blind, the big buck chased two does into the clearing at 5 p.m. Long shot him and the buck dropped its head, then ran 40 yards where it piled up.
“The rack’s not perfect. It’s gnarly, so it was an old deer. It had 7-inch (circumference) bases,” he said.
Long passed up some definite shooters waiting on this particular deer, so he has some others to keep him interested. But still, he’ll miss pursuing this one.
“I focused on him for three years. But even with all the work, travel, food plots, time, and money invested in him, it came down to a matter of 30 seconds. A part of me misses that I won’t see him on camera again,” Long said.