As one of North Carolina’s fastest growing and most populated counties, Wake doesn't always register with deer hunters. But, that didn't stop Chris Phinney of North Raleigh from taking the biggest buck of his life — a full velvet 8-point that was given a gross green score just under 130 inches, on Sept. 9.
While much of Wake County is pavement, cement, or subdivisions, the northern reaches can be downright rural — if you’re lucky enough to have access to it. On a 15-acre parcel of private property, Phinney set up his lock-on stand near a swamp on a heavily traveled trail.
Phinney had been watching this buck since mid-July and getting regular pictures of him on his trail camera with a group of smaller bucks in the mornings and evenings. So he made sure to be in his stand early on the morning of opening day. But, the big buck didn't show, although a group of smaller bucks and does did. Undeterred, Phinney returned that afternoon around 4:30.
“Probably 15 to 20 minutes after I got settled in, I looked to my left and saw the buck,” said Phinney. “He was probably 30 yards away. I couldn't get a good shot on him and by then the wind was swirling a little bit and he knew something was up. I was ready, had my bow in my hand, but I didn't want to stand up on this deer and him see me and disappear for the rest of the season. I was as still as I could possibly be. He stood in one spot for maybe 5 or 10 minutes, then he backtracked and just walked off.”
Again, undeterred, Phinney sat tight until about 20 minutes before dark, when a pair of does came into the corn pile and he thought about how the big buck is usually caught on camera about his time.
“Everything was right and the wind was blowing directly in my face,” said Phinney. “Next thing I know, I see a big body coming through the woods. He was on the same route he had been on earlier and came on into the corn pile.
“As the dominant buck out there, he pushed the does off the corn and they ran off. Then, three other bucks came. I started losing light because where I hunt is pretty thick. But, I could see that it was definitely him. I got my bow and stood up to shoot.”
Phinney drew and released an Easton arrow from his Mathews bow. The 100-grain, Spitfire Maxx expandable broadhead found its target as the buck stood broadside at 25 yards.
“I stuck him pretty good,” said Phinney. “He only ran 10 or 15 yards. I got down and called my dad to help me get him out of the woods.”
The buck was taken later that evening to A Wise Idea Taxidermy (owned by Josh Wise) in Raleigh, the measurements were taken. The rack carried a 16½ inch inside spread with its longest tine being a 9-inch G2.