Tripp Todd didn't really have a lot of time to deer-hunt the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 18 – opening day of gun season in eastern North Carolina.

The 10 minutes he did hunt, however, was enough to put him in North Carolina's hunting recordbooks.

Todd was eating lunch on the family farm in Northampton County after hunting that morning. He told his grandfather he couldn't hunt long after lunch because he had to drive back to Raleigh and take a nap before going to work that night.

A 24-year-old junior at Shaw University, Todd said his grandfather decided to drive one section of woods, so he headed to a familiar box blind.

Seven minutes after he got there, the hunt was over and he was holding onto one of the biggest bucks ever killed in North Carolina, an 18-point non-typical that measured 188 inches.

"I told my granddaddy that I needed to leave by 2 o'clock, so he sent me to this one 15-foot box blind he'd built, and he said I could get out and leave when I needed to," Todd said. "I heard the dogs (strike) when I was getting out of the truck, so I went and climbed into the stand, and I wasn't there for five minutes when a doe came out of the edge of the woods. I didn't have any expectations of killing a big buck; I was just gonna shoot a doe for some meat, but she saw me and turned and walked back in the woods.

 

 "I looked down at my watch, got out a can of dip and put a dip in my mouth, and I heard something coming, crunching through this field of overgrown weeds. I thought, 'That tricky little doe has boogered around and is coming back right in front of me.'

 

"I turned my chair around, and the next thing I saw when I looked up was his face, chest and the front part of him. I saw how tall his tines were and how wide he was. I thought he was a big 8- or 10-pointer; I didn't see his kickers," Todd said. "He looked at me, and I don't know why, but he looked down, and I got my gun up, knocked the safety off, put the bead on his chest and pulled off the first shot."

 

At the report of his 12-gauge Benelli Super Black Eagle, the buck seemed to crumble, its knees and chest buckling, but it remained upright and headed back where it had come from. Todd took two more shots at the departing deer, then slipped another 3-1/2-inch Winchester load of 00 buckshot into the chamber and fired again as the buck headed back into the tall grass.

 

"I saw him fall, but then I heard wood and bushes cracking. There was no way I was letting him get away or get to where somebody else could shoot him, so I got down and went over to where I shot him, and I saw blood and started following him, and I was going through the brush and weeds, and there he was standing in a little clearing, about 10 or 15 yards away, sort of quartering away. He lifted up his front hoof like he was going to run, and I shot him again and dispatched him."

 

With the buck finally on the ground for good, Todd got a good look at what he'd killed, and it was a stunning revelation. On the ground in front of him was a 180-pound buck with a tall, dark, wide rack with sticker points everywhere. 

 

"I saw how really huge he was, and all I could think of was, 'Oh, my God!'" he said. "My uncles and everybody have been hunting 20 or 30 or 40 years – my granddaddy 70 years – to shoot a deer like this one."

 

The buck was literally peppered with buckshot. The first shot, at 30 yards, had taken it through the neck and chest, with one pellet piercing an ear and another glancing off one of the tallest tines. "It was probably a killing shot if he'd had time to sit down and bleed out," Todd said. "There was all kinds of buckshot in his neck and chest; he was just eat up with buckshot from that first shot."

 

Todd's buck had a base 5x5 frame with three tines longer than 11 inches and one longer than 12 inches, plus an 18-3/4-inch inside spread. The G-2 on the left side carries three small sticker points; the G-2 on the right side is forked, with one sticker on each fork, and the G-3 on the right side is forked. The deer's main beams measure 26 and 27 inches.

 

Measured by his uncle, Matt Glover, as an 8x10 with 16 inches of non-typical, the buck taped out at 188 net points. It can be officially scored after a 60-day drying period, and Todd said that Hal Atkinson, an official Boone & Crockett Club scorer and former director of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission's Division of Wildlife Management, intends to score it as both a typical and non-typical.

 

If it doesn't lose much during the drying period, the buck could score in the top 10 all-time among North Carolina non-typicals, according to the Wake County Wildlife Club's record book. Two bucks scoring 188-5/8 are tied for eighth place, and a Northampton County buck that scored 187-2/8 occupies the No. 10 spot. The No. 11 buck, a 183-1/8-inch non-typical, was killed in 1966 by Doc Glover, the uncle of Todd's grandfather, not too far from where his huge buck fell.

 As surprised as Todd was by the buck's size, everyone else was surprised that it was even around.

 

"Nobody had seen him – none of the farmers or anybody around here," Todd said. "My cousin farms the place, and my granddaddy is down here all the time. My uncle Matt has got trail cameras on all our land, in North Carolina and Virginia, and he wasn't on any of the trail cameras. It's like he just dropped out of the sky.

 

"The dogs struck about five or 10 minutes after they were dropped; I was in the stand five minutes before the doe got there, and the buck came two minutes later," he said.