When Marc Cavanaugh of Granville County, N.C. was getting ready for the 2017 deer hunting season, he placed two trophy bucks on his target list. And what a season he had, killing both of his intended goals, making it his best season ever.

After killing the first buck on his list on Sept. 30, Cavanaugh scored his second on Dec. 10. This buck scored 139 6/8 inches and sported an inside spread better than 19 inches. 

His first photos of this buck appeared back in May, but the photos were few and far between. Still, he immediately knew it would be a buck to keep an eye out for. Unfortunately, the buck had all but vanished after that until the middle of September, when the buck appeared on a cold and rainy day, and it showed up about 500 yards from the first photos in May. The buck appeared healthy and had obviously beefed up a bit since the spring.

But the buck was spooked off the property, presumably by a dominant buck, which happened to be No. 1 on Cavanaugh’s hit list. And once the hunter downed that buck, his No. 2 started to make regular appearances on the farm over the next two months, but almost always under the safety of darkness.

“I figured it would only be a matter of time until he showed up in shooting hours, so I waited until the time was right to make a move,” Cavanaugh said.

On Dec. 10, Cavanaugh’s trial cam snapped a photo of the buck at 1 p.m., so he decided to go for an afternoon sit.

“I got settled in at 3:45, and two does came in to feed. The younger of the two kept looking into the timber with a lot of curiosity so I kept my head on a swivel,” he said.

Right about then, the big buck showed up, but Cavanaugh realized immediately that the buck was more interested in the doe than eating, so the hunter put the crosshairs on the buck, and with his heart pounding, pulled the trigger. He was sure he had hit the deer, but didn’t feel great about the shot placement.

“I gave it two hours and called some help to track, and we found the buck bedded down looking at us about 200 yards from the initial shot, so I went ahead and dispatched him with another shot,” he said.

Like he does with most of his hunts along with other members of Team Part Time Whitetails, Cavanaugh captured this hunt on video. It will be featured on the team’s DVD which they’ll have available at the 2018 Dixie Deer Classic.