Kernersville hunter sticks Rockingham County trophy

climbing stand
Mark Rice opted for his climbing stand to down this Rockingham County brute.

Climbing stand does the trick

Mark Rice of Kernersville, N.C. killed a Rockingham County 10-point buck in full velvet on the opening day of North Carolina’s archery season. He killed it in a spot he wasn’t fully prepared to hunt when he first saw trail cam photos of the deer during his preseason scouting.

“This deer showed up on one of my trail cameras in a spot that I didn’t have a stand. I thought about putting one up then. But I knew that was risky. I didn’t want to disturb the area that much and run the buck off. So I decided to go in there with a climbing stand,” said Rice.

“I checked the camera again on Friday, the day before opening day. That deer had been in there the previous three evenings,” he said.

After deciding a climbing stand was his best option, Rice decided to skip his plans of attending the UNC – Miami college football game to hunt instead.

“Some other deer had been showing up on the camera by 5:30 p.m. So I wanted to get in there earlier than that. I didn’t want to scare anything out when I walked in,” he said.

Climbing options were limited

Few trees were around that would accommodate his climbing stand, so he got in and looked around. His only chance was a tree that was much closer to his corn pile than he would have liked.

“I was looking almost straight down at the corn pile,” he said.

“Before long, a big 8-point buck came in. This was a trophy deer. He had no velvet on his antlers. I would have normally shot that deer without hesitation. But knowing that 10-point was probably on his way, I didn’t even think of shooting this one,” he said.

climbing stand
Another look at Rice’s Rockingham County 10-point buck in velvet.

He watched a handful of other deer come in and hang around, and just as he expected, the 10-pointer in velvet came walking straight in. Before long, it was standing 15 yards away. Rice eased his Barnett Gamecrusher crossbow up and fired. His 100-grain, two-blade Bloodrunner broadhead found its mark.

Big buck didn’t run far

“I heard the deer huff when the bolt hit him. It ran off, and I decided to give it some time. I think when you feel good about your shot, the best thing to do is give them time to lay down and die,” he said.

Rice drove to the nearby plant where he works. He got there around 7 p.m., when two of his friends, Daryl and Ricky, had just ended their shifts. They went back and found the deer with no problem. It had run about 50 yards, laid down and died.

The buck had a 17-inch spread and Rice estimated the buck’s gross net score in the mid 130s.

“As far as an all-around experience, that was one of my best hunts. Seeing the other deer, having the 10-point show up pretty much how I expected, and being able to kill it. Then having my friends help me find it. It was really just a great experience,” he said.

Click here to read about a great buck taken in Surry County on North Carolina’s opening day of archery season.

Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1494 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina.

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