At the beginning of bow season in N.C.’s Central Deer season, RJ Seiler captured a stud buck on trail camera perusing one of his sites along a river bottom in Rockingham County. Unfortunately, the buck didn’t stay around long. But, after the rut tapered off, the old codger made his way back home to find Seiler locked and loaded with his Ruger America .308 in hand. 

“I had several good pictures of this buck at the first of bow season and then he went off the grid,” Seiler said. “He disappeared for a while until the first day of black powder.” 

Seiler was hunting along a river bottom near a large pile of corn. His trail camera photos had a few other bucks using the area, and a number of does were also frequenting and feasting on the corn. But, Seiler was still hopeful the big 10-pointer would return. He climbed into his stand with good hopes for the day until the wind swirled and caused a disturbance just behind his corn pile at 8:30 a.m. 

“As soon as the wind swirled, I heard a commotion 30 yards past the corn pile and I saw a big-bodied deer take off in the opposite direction. I didn’t get a perfect look, but it was him… I know it was… He was gone… Again,” he said. 

But, Seiler didn’t give up. He continued to hunt the property hard maintaining his corn piles and hunting almost every day. 

“Finally, he showed back up on camera just after Thanksgiving right during the middle of the night. That was okay though; I was just glad he came back around,” he said. 

Seiler was confident the deer would come back around, and on Dec. 4, his luck quickly turned around. 

At 3:30 p.m., seven does walked up to his corn pile and camped out for nearly two hours. 

“These does were eating corn like pigs in a trough and still not a buck in sight. I didn’t understand,” he said. 

Then, at 5:15, the does walked off into the distance with full tummies. As Seiler watched them trail off into the distance, he heard a twig break and another deer caught his eye. It was a buck, a big buck!

“I saw one side of his rack and knew it was him. He was walking in without a care in the world. He must have felt safe after watching the does come through,” he said.

Seiler raised his Ruger America .308 and dropped the buck in its tracks. 

With an 18-inch inside spread and a nearly symmetrical rack, Seiler’s buck scored 135 inches and weighed 180 pounds. 

“I hunted hard for three months after the big buck and it took until after the rut ended to finally get him on the ground,” he said.