North Carolina has a new state-record archery deer, all because Tim Watkins’ plan came together when he arrowed a huge buck Sept. 18 in Stokes County.
A panel of four certified Pope and Young Club and Boone and Crockett Club scorers officially measured the buck this past week when the required 60-day drying period was completed, and it scored 170 1/8 points. It will supplant a 166 6/8-inch Guilford County buck arrowed in 2009 by Andrew Kerman as the state-record typical buck taken by a bowhunter.
Watkins’ buck is the first North Carolina deer killed by a bowhunter to qualify for the Boone and Crockett Club’s all-time record book – minimum score 170 – and it will tie for No. 16 among typical bucks taken in North Carolina by all methods.
A Stokes County resident, Watkins, 45, said he got regular images of a buck with extraordinarily long tines when he set up a trail camera in June on private land he hunts.
“He might not show up every day; he might miss two, three or four days, but then he’d be back,” said Watkins, who has 150 trail-cam photos of the buck. “Sometimes I’d get four pictures of him in a day. I think he was roaming and rubbing. He had a little velvet on back side of his horns he hadn’t got off yet (when he shot the deer). I had got pictures of him for 2½ months.
“The odd thing is I didn’t have a picture of him in 2012,” he said. “He must have come from some place else.”
To keep the deer in his hunting area as much as possible, Watkins started feeding corn and apples on the ground near a pine tree that he’d chosen as a stand site.
“I was putting out 10 to 12 buckets of apples -- yellow delicious, wine saps, stamens and ‘spice apples’ – a week, then the week before (bow) season opened, I started putting out 200 pounds a week of corn,” Watkins said. “The deer really liked the (spice apples).”
The afternoon of Sept. 18, Watkins got home from work at 3:30 and headed for his loc-on stand, 20 feet up in the pine, climbing in at around 5 o’clock.
“I was waiting on him,” Watkins said. “I’d let a couple of borderline Pope and Young bucks walk that afternoon. He was the 16th deer I saw that evening.
“The wind was blowing in my face, but that deer came from behind me, and I don’t know how in the world he didn’t smell me. It was probably 7:15 or 7:20, just before dark. The wind had died down when he showed up with an 8-pointer.”
Watkins said he knew this was the deer he’d been waiting to see because it walked so close to his tree stand. He pulled back the string of his Bowtech Allegiance compound bow and loosed a Gold Tip arrow armed with a two-blade collapsible Rage broadhead. To his surprise, the arrow flattened the buck —Watkins was shooting down almost vertically – going down through its spine.
“He was standing 11 yards from me,” Watkins said, chuckling.
By the time he climbed down, the deer had expired.
“I thought his rack might go in the high 160s, and I guessed his weight at 170 and missed it by five pounds,” he said. “He wasn’t a big-bodied deer.”
Joey Thompson, a N.C. Bowhunters Association record-keeper and a certified scorer for the Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young clubs, led a four-man team that scored the buck.
“When we have a potential state-record archery deer, we score it by committee,” Thompson said. “We agreed on every measurement.”
The rack had an 18 1/8-inch inside spread, main beams of 26 2/8 and 26 5/8 inches and brow tines measuring of 3 4/8 and 3 7/8 inches. The four longest tines measured 12 7/8, 12, 11 7/8 and 11 2/8 inches, and it had four other tines that taped 5 7/8, 6 6/8 inches, 2 2/8 and 1 2/8 inches. Seven of the eight circumference measurements were between 4 1/8 and 4 6/8 inches, with one taped at 3 7/8. Deductions included one abnormal point of 1 4/8 inches on the right main beam below the G3 tine and only 5 2/8 inches of asymmetry.
The rack’s gross score was 176 7/8.
Taxidermist Billy Allen of Shoals is preparing the mount for Watkins to take to the 2014 Dixie Deer Classic.