It’s no secret that Rockingham County is home to some of the biggest bucks in the Carolinas, but Jordan Barnes was still surprised by the brute 9-point trophy he killed on Nov. 19. The buck has been green-scored at 146 4/8, but that’s not what surprised Barnes.

Barnes has been hunting the 230-acre tract for some time, and keeps up with all the deer on the property through trail cameras, and while he fully expected to get a look at one of the shooters he’s been monitoring lately, this big deer was one he’d never seen before, and that took him by surprise.

But that didn’t stop him from giving the deer a surprise of his own. With the rut in full swing, Barnes knew he had a good chance at catching a buck letting his guard down to chase does. He was using Tink’s 69, and when he first saw a doe walk into the opening of a power line right-of-way, the buck stepped out right behind it.

Barnes was sitting on the ground with his back to a friend who was looking in the other direction down the same power line. They’d been there for about an hour, and his friend had spotted one other buck that they deemed a shooter, but it was too far away to get a shot.

A little while later, things got hot on Barnes’ side of the power line. When he saw the doe walk out, he knew it wouldn’t be long before a buck showed up, and when it did, Barnes grunted, which immediately drew the attention of the big 9-pointer.

“As soon as I grunted, he stiffened up and kind of bristled. He was looking around, trying to figure out where the grunt came from,” he said.

Hunting on power line right-of-ways means you’ll see your share of deer that are at a greater distance than many hunters are comfortable with shooting, but that’s all a part of it for Barnes, who wasted no time pulling his Savage .300 Win Mag to his shoulder, finding the deer in his Nikon Pro Staff scope, and pulling the trigger. The 300-yard shot was true, and the buck dropped.

Not only had Barnes never seen that deer, either on camera or in person, none of the hunters or surrounding landowners had ever seen it either. 

“I don’t know if he’d been there and just evading the cameras and people, or if he came from somewhere else. That’s one of the beautiful things about the rut. It’s the best time of year to get a shot at a deer like this,” said Barnes.