It didn’t take deer hunters in North Carolina and South Carolina very long to make their marks this past fall. Even with a big crop of acorns on the ground in many places — usually a harbinger of a tough whitetail season — a lot of big bucks began falling in September, and they never quit.
Some big, big bucks.
At least three hunters have a better-than-average chance for their bucks to qualify for the Boone & Crockett Club’s all-time record book — a place where only the bluest of blue-ribbon bucks resides, and one figures to put a real scare in a state record.
Justin Hodges, 12, of McCormick County, S.C., killed an enormous buck on Nov. 11 that could be trouble for William Wyatt’s 1994 state-record trophy from Pickens County, which scored 176.
Hodges buck carried 19 total points on a huge, 10-point typical frame, that featured 12-inch brow tines and four other tines that measured at least 13 inches long. Bobby Parker of Rock House Road Processing in Greenwood scored the deer at 178 points — most of the sticker points being small ones jutting the base of the buck’s monstrous antlers.
Two North Carolina bucks are at least in the hunt for the B&C book, if they don’t shrink too much between the day they were killed and the end of the 60-day drying period, after which they can be measured officially.
Chester Townes of Middleburg, N.C., didn’t wait long to kill an enormous Vance County buck with a net green score of 1713/8 inches. Townes scored on Oct. 15, the opening day of gun season in eastern North Carolina.
Randy Hayes of Hayes Taxidermy in Henderson scored the enormous 12-point typical at 1932/8 gross and 1713/8 net. It featured main beams that measured 282/8 and 294/8 inches, with brow tines of 126/8 and 93/8 inches and matching tines on each beam at 112/8 and 111/8 inches.
Colin Howlett of Walnut Cove doesn’t have quite as much leeway with his 12-point Rockingham County buck as Townes does. Howlett’s huge trophy got a green net score of 1703/4 inches.
Killed on Nov. 5 during blackpowder season, Howlett’s buck has a 19-inch inside spread, 23-inch main beams and tremendous symmetry.
Of course, a buck doesn’t have to been a record-book specimen to be a real trophy. Click the links below or visit www.carolinasportsman.com/big bucks to see even more trophies killed this past season.