For some, the third time is the charm, but for Jason Carter of Snow Camp, N.C., it was the fourth try that brought down his once-in-a-lifetime buck — a 10-point brute with an impressive set of antlers — on his family’s 400-acre cattle farm in Southern Alamance County on Sept. 21.
Carter anticipated the opening day of archery season after trail cam photos showed the massive buck had showed up on his property.
“I first noticed he had 10 points when he formed his shape back in early June and we rarely get too many 10 pointers on our farm,” Carter said. “We seem to have an eight-point gene and I was very excited to see a buck with 10 points using our farm and he was a big one too!”
Carter ran three trail cameras around the hunting stand to figure out what wind the deer was working for this area, a small grove of oak trees adjacent to a clearing with chest-high weeds. And for most of the summer, the deer made regular visits.
Carter had the deer pegged for every kind of wind at this point. Along with his friend Shane Atkins, Carter films and produces Southern Release TV, a hunting channel on YouTube. This deer would make a perfect show, so Atkins was naturally invited along to film
On the second day of the season, Atkins and Carter were locked and loaded, one with camera and the other with bow and arrow. The big 10-pointer showed up in full velvet, but a little too late for acceptable camera light, and Carter declined a perfect broadside shot at only 18 yards. He knew it was worth letting the deer walk until another day when camera conditions were more favorable.
After a second encounter gave up the same results — too little light for filming, Carter began to get frustrated.
On Sept. 20, Carter went hunting even though it meant operating the camera himself during the hunt. The wind was right, and the deer came back a third time. But this time, from the opposite side and again without sufficient camera light.
“I really wanted to film the kill, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had to take him,” he said.
Carter fired an arrow toward the deer, which was standing 17 yards from his tree. And then something bad happened.
“I saw my orange Lumenok hit a limb and it deflected the arrow toward the deer’s face and I heard a smack,” he said. “Oh my God, I just shot my deer in the face with a broad head.”
Carter was sick to his stomach. He climbed down and when he found his arrow, it only had a few pieces of short hair, but no blood anywhere. He went home and had a sleepless night.
“I had three opportunities at this deer and I may have injured the biggest deer of my life,” he said.
The next day, Sept. 21, Carter pulled his trail camera cards and saw the deer had come back later that evening and ate corn into the wee hours of the morning. With several good photos of the deer’s face, Carter was relieved that he saw no damage.
Later that evening, Carter climbed back into the stand without the camera this time, and was surprised to see the buck walk back out as if nothing had happened the day before.
The deer was quartering away at 16 yards, and Carter was wasting no time. He drew back and shot. The deer ran for 25 yards and collapsed just on the edge of his view.
“I watched him fall and my adrenaline started kicking in. I had finally got the deer after letting him walk twice and then shooting the deer in the face the day before. It was a miracle!” he said.
Carter picked up his two sons, Landon and Easton to help him recover the deer as a family. Shane Atkins came from his home in Fuquay-Varina and filmed the recovery.
“He was much bigger than I thought. I pegged the deer to be in the 140’s. I had no idea he would have ended up this big,” he said.
The 10-pointer gross scored just over 158 inches with several tines exceeding 10 inches, 24 ½-inch main beams, and tons of mass measurements throughout. It was definitely a buck of a lifetime for Carter with one heck of a tale to go along with it.