Up until Thanksgiving morning, Adrian Whitson of Burnsville had not killed a buck in eight years, and normally only hunts with a bow. But it was rifle season, and Whitson carried his Ruger .223 into a stand deep in the forest of Yancey County, and a buck showed up that was worthy of Whitson pulling the trigger.
Since bow season, Coty Ingram of Newland, NC had been trying his hardest to bring down a buck that was the talk of Avery County hunters — a big-bodied 13-point that had turned up on a lot of folk’s trail cameras. On a Thanksgiving morning hunt that almost didn’t happen, the mostly nocturnal buck slipped up, and Ingram was there to take advantage.
Wayne Louya of Carthage, N.C. hits the woods during deer season every chance he gets from opening day until the season ends. He typically takes at least one good scoring deer per year in North Carolina’s piedmont, and this year was no exception, scoring his biggest trophy yet on Nov. 25 with a 153-inch brute he killed in Randolph County.
Three Roxboro, N.C. residents are facing serious charges for a laundry list of wildlife violations from night-hunting to killing and possessing wild game out of season. If convicted, they are likely to have their hunting licenses revoked and are expected to fork out more than $30,000 in fines and restitution.
Deer hunters in the Carolinas are blessed to have some of the longest seasons in the country. By Thanksgiving, the parade of bucks across the region has thinned significantly, with more than 80 percent of the annual harvest already filled. But the last month of the season can offer hunters a good opportunity at an encounter with a taxidermy-grade animal. The mixture of cooler weather and a waning rut is a perfect formula for catching a late season bruiser sneaking in to gorge on a rich food source.
Julie Cook of Gaston, S.C. has never considered herself a trophy hunter. She’s never been opposed to the idea of it, but she’s just never been in a position to shoot a trophy where she hunts around St. Matthews. But that changed on the morning of Nov. 25 when a big 14-pointer with a split drop tine on its right side and another drop tine on the left stepped into range.
Fifteen-year-old Haylie Richard of Butner, North Carolina arrowed a 144-inch trophy 12-point buck in Granville County, N.C. on Nov. 25. Richard isn’t new to killing trophy bucks though. Back in October 2015, Richard took down a massive 147-inch 9-pointer just before sundown, winning the top prize at the 2016 Dixie Deer Classic for the female and youth categories.