Patrick Walters of Summerville is best known for his bass fishing skills, but he’s now a trophy gator hunter as well. The University of South Carolina Fishing Team angler won the FLW College Fishing National Championship two years ago, and he’s won his share of money and trophies on other trails as well. But all the while he’s been fishing, he’s kept his eyes on the water for gators too.
Brandon Bowman proved on Sept. 12 that it doesn’t take a big piece of land to produce a big buck. That’s when Bowman, from Madison, N.C., connected with a 10-point, 162-inch monster on a 10-acre tract in Rockingham County.
One look at the massive rack and huge-bodied deer in the 2014 deer season prompted Spartanburg County bowhunter Mike Kossover to commit to hunting that specific buck. Kossover knew his patience would be an asset, but he didn’t realize it would be a three-year quest.
Chad Gaines of Goldston, N.C., patrols the roads of Chatham County as a sheriff’s deputy, and he patrols for deer on his family farm. Late on the afternoon of Sept. 15, he put permanent handcuffs on a 156 5/8-inch whitetail buck he’d been investigating since the end of the 2015 season.
Mike Venable picked up a lease late last hunting season on some land in Orange County, N. C., and he wasted no time putting up a couple of stands on an oak ridge. The deer wasted no time either, showing up as soon he and his wife hunted the first time. But a bad mixture between his hunting stand and his arrow caused him to miss the biggest deer of his life. Luckily, that same deer showed up again on the 15th of this month, and this time, Venable arrowed the deer.
One day after helping her friend Mandy Broadway bag her first gator, Kelly Logan of Manning bagged her own with the help of Robert Nuzzo and Ernie Seruya, both of whom were also in on Broadway’s hunt. And while Broadway couldn’t make this trip, Bryan Miller joined the crew, helping Logan land her beast, which measured 10 feet, 7 inches in length on Sept. 12.
Jonathan Linens of Ringgold, Virginia lives within a stone’s throw of the North Carolina/Virginia State line. Before his Virginia season commences on October 3rd, he torments the North Carolina herd on every chance he gets as the archery season begins. And opening morning on his lease in Caswell County, the stars were aligned just right to bring a huge 140-class buck right into his kill zone. But, a bachelor group of juvenile bucks on his stand almost spoiled the party.
A visit to Person County on Sept. 14 turned into a once-in-a-lifetime road trip for Carla Inman of Canton, who killed a whopping 175-inch non-typical buck from a ground blind, then arrowed an 8-pointer in full velvet 20 minutes later.
A potential Pope and Young on opening day is about the best birthday surprise that any diehard hunter could yearn for. And during the first hour of daylight on the opening morning of the North Carolina 2016 Archery Season, Lawrence Green of Wake Forest was in the right place at the right time when a massive 141-inch eight pointer stepped out of the woods and right into Green’s lethal territory just two weeks after his 21st birthday.