Justin Miller of Bahama had to convince his hunting buddy, Ricky Glenn, to head into the woods last Nov. 7 to hunt a piece of property in Durham County where they'd put stands up only three days before.

"They were calling for rain, and I had to talk him into going, because he almost didn't want to go," said Miller, whose efforts were rewarded almost immediately.

He killed a big 8-point buck and entered it in North Carolina Sportsman's Bag-A-Buck contest. His entry was drawn as the grand-prize winner in late January from among all the entries in the 4-month contest.

Miller's grand-prize package, which he will pick up at the Dixie Deer Classic in Raleigh in early March, consists of a CVA muzzleloader, a Nikon Pro Staff scope, a Leupold rangefinder, a Line-X truck bed liner and a deer hunt in northeastern North Carolina with Fourth Generation Outfitters.

"I sat and didn't see anything until 7:30, then I started rattling," said Miller, whose user name on www.NorthCarolinaSportsman.com forum is "JustinTime."
"I hit my (rattling horns) and I had to small bucks come running in to about 40 yards. Then, off to my left shoulder, I glimpsed another buck in my peripheral vision coming in. He stopped 30 yards out, looking at the two bucks that were in front of me."

Miller, a 40-year-old engineer for the city of Durham, let the buck go behind a tree, and when it emerged, he squeezed the trigger of his .50-caliber CVA Optima muzzleloader. Smoke covered his target, and when it cleared, the buck was bounding away. Miller thought he had missed.

"I was afraid that, because he was that close, I had somehow missed," he said. "He went over a hill and out of sight, but the two smaller bucks were still standing in front of me."

Miller called Glenn and described the situation. When he told him the smaller bucks were still there, Glenn told him the bigger buck must have been hit. "He told me that buck ran for a reason; he must be hit," Miller said.

At around 10 a.m., Miller got down from his stand and walked to where he'd seen the buck crest the hill. He found him a few feet away, cleanly killed.

The buck, which had a 16-inch inside spread, carried a typical 4x4 frame. Miller said Glenn had put a tape measure on the buck and estimated that it would score between 120 and 125 Boone & Crockett Club points.

Check out more than 200 bucks killed this season in the Bag-a-Buck Contest photo gallery.

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