Rockingham County hunter downs velvet brute

Rockingham County
Seth Vaden of Madison, N.C. killed this drop-tine buck on Sept. 9, 2019 in Rockingham County.

Drop-tine buck green-scored 149 6/8

Seth Vaden of Madison, N.C. killed a big Rockingham County buck in full velvet on Sept. 9. The buck was a mainframe 9-pointer, and had one sizeable drop tine. The buck green-scored 149 6/8 inches.

Vaden said he got a late start on baiting this season, but the big deer responded immediately to the first pile of corn he put out.

“I usually start baiting in late July or early August, but this year, it had been so hot I hadn’t been in the mood. I started a food plot a couple of times, but nothing came up because of all the rain. On Labor Day, I got off work early and decided to put some more seed out to start another food plot. I also put a bag of corn out and hung my camera for the first time (this season),” he said.

The following Friday, Vaden checked his camera for the first time. And he liked what he saw.

“The camera had over 400 pictures on it, and I bet 100 was this big buck,” he said. “I baited on Monday and he came in on Tuesday and he was eating in the daylight. On Wednesday, it was night time (when the deer came to eat).”

A pattern emerges

On Thursday, the buck was back to eating during daylight hours. Vaden realized the deer was on a two-day pattern of eating in the daytime. But he didn’t know how long the buck would stick to that pattern. And unfortunately, he couldn’t hunt that Saturday because of other obligations.

Click the play button to hear more of Vaden’s story in his own words:

So he hunted Sunday. And as he expected, he saw plenty of other deer, but not the big 9-pointer. It was extremely hot that day, but Vaden was glad to know the buck was apparently still on its same routine. He looked forward to Monday, but as luck would have it, he had to work later than expected.

Getting off so late, Vaden decided not to hunt until one of his friends urged him to give it a try.

“One of my buddies, Josh, called me and asked if I was going to hunt. I told him no. But he said ‘man I’m telling you, you need to get in there.’ He said they’re starting to get off corn because the acorns were falling,” he said.

Vaden headed to his stand, arriving about 6 p.m. He saw one doe not long after getting in the stand, and then no activity until about 7:20. He made a mental note to himself that this was about the time the big buck had been showing up every other day for the past week.

Big buck shows up right on time

A small buck showed up then, and Vaden kept his eyes peeled for the big one.

“I glanced down the field and there he stood,” he said.

Vaden was looking through his binoculars, and the deer was looking in his direction. Then it turned its head.

“When he turned his head, I saw that drop tine, and I said ‘that’s him,’” he said.

Something spooked the deer, and it began trotting out of the field. But luckily, it calmed down and turned back around, once again heading in Vaden’s direction.

“He was looking straight at me for what seemed to be 20 or 30 minutes, but probably wasn’t but two or three. He finally turned and gave me a shot at 20 yards,” he said.

Vaden pulled the trigger on his Barnett crossbow. He had no doubt he hit the deer, but he didn’t know how good his shot was. The buck ran off. Vaden said he was shaking like a leaf and called his cousin, who instructed him to go home and calm down.

A tough tracking job leads to the prized buck

“Brandon said he’d call me in a minute, and said he’d help me go find it.”

Around 8:45 p.m., the two went back to where the deer was standing when Vaden shot it. They found his bolt covered in blood, but very little blood on the ground. A drop on a briar leaf put them on the trail, but they were seeing nothing but pin drops of blood.

“I was stressed. We tracked him for about 150 yards and he crossed a creek. We were trying to figure out which way he went, and I just happened to shine my flashlight in the right place. And there he was,” he said.

“If you were in a mile range of us, you probably could have heard us hooping and hollering. I was tickled to death,” he said.

Tommy Wagner is handling the taxidermy duties for Vaden, and will make a semi-sneak shoulder mount of the big buck.

Click here to read about another Rockingham County hunter who dropped two trophy bucks in the same week.

About Brian Cope 2784 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. 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. You can reach him at

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