Siler City hunting buddies score on trophy bucks five minutes apart on same day in Chatham County

Craig Holt

December 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Hal Milholen (left) and Phil Culberson bagged these trophy bucks at almost the same time on Nov. 18, 2011 in Chatham County.
Courtesy Hal Milholen
Hal Milholen (left) and Phil Culberson bagged these trophy bucks at almost the same time on Nov. 18, 2011 in Chatham County.
A person who has hunted whitetail deer 36 years and taken two or three animals each season isn’t a likely candidate to get excited in a tree stand.

But then again, what if something happened similar to Phil Culberson’s experience?

Culberson, a 60-year-old carpenter from Siler City, was in a platform stand in the middle of a Chatham County clearcut on Nov. 18.

“I was 18 feet up in a homemade ladder stand,” Culberson said, “and I’m lookin’ at a little deer activity in a grass field that joins the cutover about 150 yards from me. Some spikes were chasin’ does when I heard a deep grunt, and I saw the tips of antlers glistenin’ in the sun standing next to a fence.”

About that time, he noticed a doe grazing in the cutover, then the buck jumped the fence.

“He kept workin’ slowly closer to the doe, but I couldn’t see anything but his head,” Culberson said.

The buck, a perfect 10-pointer with extremely tall tines, would appear then disappear in the head-high weeds and pokeberries, showing only its headgear.

“He did this for a solid 45 minutes,” Culberson said. “I don’t normally get excited, but I was a shakin’ wreck.”

Finally, Culberson climbed up on the wooden seat in his stand.

“I still only could see his head,” he said. “He’d take a step, stop, then take a step, and I could see his head for an instant, then he’d disappear again.”

He decided to take an off-hand shot while his crosshairs were wavering across the target area. His attempt with his .270 Winchester bolt-action rifle missed cleanly.

However, the buck only moved a few feet. Meanwhile, the doe began moving quickly past Culberson’s stand. The buck sensed her presence and started toward her in the heavy underbrush.

Walking quickly, the 10-pointer stepped into a small opening, Culberson fired, putting the 200-pound animal down with a quartering-away shot.

Culberson hasn’t had the rack scored, but it’s near-perfect symmetry will possibly net it close to 150 inches.

“I haven’t hunted that stand much because I only have one stand there, and it’s on the south side of the cutover, and I had a 5 mph north wind that day,” he said.

What made Culberson’s trophy even better was a 140-inch 13-point trophy killed by a hunting buddy, Hal Milholen of Siler City, about five miles away at almost the exact same time.

“I’d seen a big 8-pointer the day before at the same place, but I didn’t shoot him because he had a broken tine,” said Milholen, 49, an avid hunter who has traveled to Canada several times to try for a trophy whitetail.

“He was leaving a food plot about 90 yards away, and I shot him in the right shoulder, and he went right down,” said Milholen, who was in a climbing stand in the middle of a grove of oak trees with a .270 Browning A-Bolt and a Sightron scope.

His deer’s rack sports a 6x5 mainframe with two crab claw points.

“My best deer is a 150-inch Canadian buck, but this is my best North Carolina deer,” he said.

The pair, part of a loose-knit group of hunters, met later that day and exchanged handshakes and congratulations.


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