Hunter had a long history with this buck
Daniel Clarida of Reidsville, N.C. killed a 12-point wall hanger on Sept. 15 in Rockingham County after a lengthy history with the buck. The deer had an oddly-shaped tine, prompting Clarida to nickname the animal Chiquita. The buck’s rack taped out with a net green score of 150 7/8. It’s his biggest deer ever.
He first caught sight of the deer in 2016 — a long time ago in a deer’s life. And that year, one of Clarida’s buddies shot, but didn’t kill, Chiquita.
“On a perfect, cold November morning, Chiquita stepped in front of my buddy Brock Howell. Brock did not make a great shot, so we backed out after we found that the deer had made a scrape at the end of the blood trail,” said Clarida. “The last blood was in the scrape. It seemed like the shot just made the deer mad. So we backed out and started running twice as many cameras. But we didn’t see him again.
“So this year, just before the season, Chiquita shows back up, bigger and healthy, and with the same shaped tines. So he became number one on the hit list,” he said.
On Sept. 7, North Carolina’s opening day of archery season, Clarida had a favorable wind for the stand Chiquita had been frequenting. He hunted there that evening, hoping to tag the biggest deer of his life. One buck showed up, but it winded the hunter. He didn’t get a great look at it, but suspected it could have been Chiquita.
Clarida gets another chance
“One week later, I had another good wind. I figured I have to try it,” he said
Sitting in the stand around 7 p.m., Clarida decided to try a grunt call. Within 30 seconds of giving a few young buck grunts, he heard footsteps to his right coming through a thicket. He put the call away and stood up, ready to draw.
“After standing for five minutes, I heard nothing else. So this time I grabbed my other grunt call. This is a custom call that my good buddy Josh Pruitt had made for me a few weeks earlier. I let out a grunt, and immediately heard footsteps again. I set the grunt call down and shifted my feet. As soon as I got my feet steady, I could see the deer’s legs 30 yards away,” he said.
At 7:26 p.m., Clarida peered through the pine limbs, finally seeing the deer’s right side G2 with the telltale kicker. He knew right then that it was Chiquita.
Another deer had shown up. Clarida glanced its way and saw that it was on high alert.
“I put my attention back on Chiquita, and he was now on high alert also. So I knew I had to take the shot. I came to a full draw with my Obsession Def-Con M6,” he said.
The hunter gets a sickening feeling, then realizes all is well
He released the VAP Elite 300 arrow, sending the Rage broadhead toward its target.
“I knew right away that I had hit him. I could hear the smack,” he said.
Clarida was pretty worked up, and picked up his binoculars while trying to calm himself down. He glassed the opening, not looking for anything in particular. But he noticed his arrow lying on the ground, and got a bad feeling.
Suddenly, he felt sick at the thought he may have hit the deer low. He waited until dark, retrieved his arrow, called a few friends, and went to meet them at his house. They discussed whether they should look for the deer immediately, or give it time to die without needlessly bumping it.
At 11:30, they headed back and began searching. It took a minute to get on the right trail, but once they did, they saw right away that the Rage broadhead had definitely done its job.
“There was blood everywhere. More than most people would even want to see. About 70 yards from where I had made the shot, there he was, the biggest buck of my life, Chiquita. I don’t think it has sunk in yet. But it is definitely bittersweet that the quest for Chiquita is over,” he said.