So David Anderson knew how fortunate he was on Nov. 17 when he dropped a huge whitetail on a Guilford County farm.
When he was skinning the buck, which carries a 5x6 frame with triple brow tines on one side and double brow tines on the other, Anderson found a deep, infected wound on its right shoulder - the spot he'd stuck a broadhead during archery season.
"My friend, David Hendrix, he said, 'That's the deer you shot.'He had pictures of my deer on a trail camera. I didn't remember it being quite that big, but the scar was right where I hit it; the shaft broke 4½ inches from the broadhead."
And not only was he fortunate to bag a buck that will score in the mid-160s as a Boone & Crockett Club non-typical, his late-November entry also won the November Bag-a-Buck contest sponsored by North Carolina Sportsman.
Anderson, a Summerfield native who lives in Greensboro, will receive a shotgun from Field & Stream Outfitters in Greenville, N.C., a Line-X truck bed liner, a North Carolina Sportsman T-shirt and decal, a Tink's scent kit, Realtree hats and Monster Buck DVDs, a Plano storage box and a copy of Cooking on the Wild Side, a cookbook authored by Ty Conti, publisher of the magazine. He remains eligible - along with everyone who enters the contest - for the grand-prize: a 2-day deer hunt with Fourth Generation Outfitters, a Leupold rifle scope and a Line-X truck bed liner.
The grand-prize winner will be drawn from all entries for presentation at the Dixie Deer Classic in Raleigh in March.
Anderson, who had never killed a buck before - he'd passed up numerous 8- and 10-pointers, because "I wanted to make sure I'd be proud of whatever I put on my wall," he said - was hunting from the same TimberRidge portable tree stand he morning of Nov. 16. He'd set it up in a natural funnel area that featured a stand of white oaks and a pine thicket.
"I just happened to look over my left shoulder, and he was just there, about 40 yards away," he said. "He just kept coming. He came up the exact same trail I'd used."
The buck was almost directly under Anderson - he counted 10 steps from the base of his tree - when he put the crosshairs of his Leupold scope on the buck's spine, between his shoulders, and squeezed the trigger on his Browning .270.
"He never even kicked," said Anderson, 31, who works at the Gander Mountain store in Greensboro.
Taxidermist Kenny Gallimore of Denton put a measuring tape on the buck on Nov. 28. He came up with a gross non-typical score of 171-5/8 and a net non-typical score of 165-6/8.
The buck has a 20-inch inside spread, split brow tines on the right beam and triple brow tines on the left beam - the largest being 10½ inches long.