Just before dark on Oct. 3, Chad Thousand of Greensboro, N.C. arrowed one of the biggest deer of his life; a 173 2/8-inch monster 15-point buck. Thousand first captured this buck on camera on one of his hunting properties during the late summer season. But as the season approached, the deer disappeared. 

Thousand continued to bait his corn piles on his Guilford County properties and kept up his surveillance program. Two weeks later, Thousand’s target buck was in range just before last light. 

 “After he disappeared for a month and a half, I decided I needed to figure out where he went and how to get him back,” Thousand said. “I studied aerials and figured out where I believed he could have gone.”

Thousand reunited with the buck on a nearby hunting property over a mile away from where he first captured the deer on camera in the summer. He started baiting his corn pile heavily in that area and also started to sweeten his stand up by adding an automatic scent dispenser. 

“A mix of the appropriate scents including some pre-rut and estrous scents did the trick,” he said. 

And when the moon chart in the Carolina Sportsman Magazine was predicting a peak in movement, Thousand knew it was time to climb into the tree stand. 

 “I rely heavily on the moon chart in the (Carolina Sportsman) Magazine. I focus on the major feeds, minor feeds, and then the rank,” he said. 

The lunar chart ranks, on a 100-point scale, the best days of the month for animal activity and movement. 

“The chart was predicting that Oct. 3 was going to be the second best day of the month for activity.” 

And during the last 10 minutes of shooting light, Thousand’s 15-point buck waltzed right in and stopped broadside at eight yards from his stand. With little light left, Thousand quickly released his arrow, which went through both lungs and clipped the top of the deer’s heart.

 The deer ran off into a cutover and out of sight. Thousand looked for a while until his flashlight died and he called in for backup from his 17-year-old daughter, Lilly Thousand, who came fully armed with multiple flashlights. For hours, they looked for the deer and pulled out when the trail went cold in the middle of the cutover thicket. The deer wasn’t bleeding very much and the blood trail was challenging to follow. 

Early the next morning, Thousand recruited his father, Chuck Thousand, who was visiting from upstate New York, to help him look for the deer. A new set of eyes in the bright daylight was all it took. Within 20 minutes, Chuck walked right up on the deer. 

Thousand’s buck wasn’t incredibly wide at 15½ inches. But, the 25-inch main beams, the 15 measureable points, and the incredible circumference measurements from 5 to 7½ inches were enough to push this buck to over 173 inches total.