It was a nerve-racking hunt
Tootie Morris of Rougemont, N.C. killed a 17-point, 200-pound buck in full velvet on Sept. 7. She was hunting with her husband in Granville County. It was an evening hunt on opening weekend of archery season, and Morris was actually looking for two different deer. But, she was pleasantly surprised when the non-typical buck showed up.
Morris, a pro staffer with Rut Life TV on the Pursuit Channel along with her husband Scottie, is no stranger to killing trophy bucks. She’s killed her share of record book deer. And she was just as excited when she got the chance at killing this one.
“Every deer I’ve killed, I’ve been nervous. But this one was especially nerve-racking. We had two big 8-point bucks on camera that I had decided to focus on. We’d seen this non-typical on the cameras also, but rarely during daylight. And the photos did not do this deer justice. It just didn’t look as big on camera as it really was,” she said.
After getting set up in their ground blind for the hunt, Morris said this deer couldn’t have been further from her mind.
“It really never crossed my mind that I would shoot this buck. The only thing that Scottie and I had ever said about it is that if we saw it, we should let it walk. In the photos, it looked like it had the potential to be a trophy. But seeing it in person, you could tell it already was,” she said.
That’s part of what made the hunt so nerve-racking for her. The other part was due to the deer’s actions and movements.
Morris drew back and let off numerous times while waiting on a shot
“I drew back and let off six or seven times before I finally had a clear shot. The deer just kept stomping and running other deer off. We thought he was gone for good one time, but luckily it came back. But when it first stepped into the clearing, I was surprised at seeing him. And I also remembered saying we would let it walk. But Scottie was saying ‘shoot that deer’ when he realized how much bigger it was in person than in photos,” she said.
Finally, the big buck gave Morris a clear 20-yard shot with her PSE Stiletto bow. She drew back and released the arrow carrying a 100-grain Thorn broadhead. The arrow hit the deer, which ran off.
“We found the blood trail, and Scottie felt sure it was liver blood. I wanted to track it down right then, but based on the blood type, he said we needed to come back the next morning. And he was right,” she said.
Morris will enter her trophy in 2020 Dixie Deer Classic
A few friends joined them the next morning to form a small search party. About 150 yards from the point of the shot, they found the buck. It was still barely alive, so Morris finished the job.
“If we had tracked it the night before, we would have bumped it for sure. There’s no telling how far it would have ran, and there’s a good chance we would have lost it. Scottie is really smart about those kinds of details. He really knows what he’s doing and I’m blessed to have him. He has a great deal of knowledge about so many aspects of hunting,” she said.
The buck’s rack netted a gross, green score of 159 2/8 inches, and her husband will be handling the taxidermy duties. She’s excited about taking the mount to the 2020 Dixie Deer Classic in February. If she wins an award, it won’t be her first one. It probably won’t be her last one either.
Click here to read about the time Tootie Morris and her sister-in-law both killed trophy bucks within an hour of each other.