Brandon Campbell from Winston-Salem, N.C. almost missed the boat on a massive 8-pointer feeding in a soybean field late Friday afternoon, Nov. 3. Thankfully, Campbell’s brother-in-law, Michael Brown could see him from a neighboring tree stand and alerted Campbell of his location. With only 20 minutes left of shooting light, Campbell finally caught movement through the trees and zeroed in on the 145-inch buck with his .50 caliber MK black powder rifle.
With many years of experience in the deer woods of Rockingham County, Campbell is a lifetime hunter, but he’d never had the opportunity to bag a trophy animal such as the one he shot last Friday afternoon.
“We have a lot of pictures of decent bucks, but most of our pictures of good deer are in the middle of the night,” Campbell said. “This was a real good one though.”
On their Rockingham County farm, two soybean fields are separated by a wooded hedgerow. They had two ladder stands overlooking each of these fields and the deer were hitting the soybeans hard.
“We had lots of does using the fields and with the rut cranking up, it was as good as any place on our farm to see this buck,” he said.
That afternoon, Campbell and Brown got into their stands and settled in for the evening hunt. Then, a little before 6 o’clock, Campbell got a text from Brown.
“There’s a huge buck out in your field, you can’t see him?” texted Brown.
“I thought he was messing with me because I couldn’t see anything. I kept looking as hard as I could with my scope, binoculars, and I couldn’t see anything,” Campbell said.
Campbell’s stand was in a cutover adjacent to the field and there were certain parts of his soybean field that he couldn’t see. Campbell kept looking and kept getting texts from Brown. Apparently, the buck was in the field cruising around with four does feasting on soybeans, but was just out of Campbell’s field of view.
“I went crazy for 20 minutes trying to locate him. But then, I caught movement along the tree line on the right hand side of the field. He was 140 yards away,” Campbell said.
But, Campbell wasn’t quite ready to squeeze the trigger yet.
“It took me five minutes to calm down in order to hold the gun still. I had the good ‘ole shakes. A buck like that really gets your heart beating,” he said.
With daylight dwindling away, Campbell squeezed the trigger. And as the smoke cleared, the deer was nowhere in sight. He climbed down and met Brown in the field. Within minutes, they found blood and began to track the deer well into the middle of the night.
After 200 yards, the blood trail lessened and they heard the deer jump up and run off. So, they decided to back off for the night.
The next day, they spend several hours looking for the deer and finally found him in a creek bed just 50 yards from where the blood trail ended.
“When I saw him lying in the creek, I was shaking just as much as when I first saw him. He was a nice deer with chocolate-colored antlers and quite a bit larger than I had thought,” he said.
With 22-in beams, an 18½-inch inside spread, and a total gross score of 145 inches, Campbell’s buck is a real North Carolina trophy.