Work, school and parenting leave little time for Chris Carter to indulge his passion for deer hunting.
The 27-year-old electrical engineer from Raleigh, North Carolina, calls himself a weekend warrior, but even that’s a stretch since he rarely hunts on Sundays. He’s more a Saturday warrior.
In fact, the only reason he went afield on Oct. 1 is because the previous day’s hunt gave him reason to believe collecting venison for the freezer would be easy-peasy.
Chris says his Saturday hunt was the “deal-maker.” He saw only one deer that morning, well beyond bow range. She spent a lot of time with her head lowered, apparently vacuuming up acorns.
When he walked over later to investigate, he discovered a grove of 15 or so swamp chestnuts that were raining acorns.
“It was practically a food plot,” he said, which is why he hung a climber on a nearby hickory tree for his next morning hunt. In addition to the food source, he knew deer liked to skirt the nearby clear-cut.
Finding the mother lode of acorns, the arrival of cooler temperatures and a freezer devoid of deer meat caused him to break with routine. He was practically loaded for doe when he struck out that Sunday morning, albeit a little later than he’d normally leave the house.
About 7:45, Chris spotted the legs of an approaching deer. The brush was thick and the shadows long, but he eventually realized the animal wore dark-colored antlers.
When opportunity knocked, Chris had the presence of mind to hold his Mathews bow’s 20-yard pin a little high, and he watched the arrow drop down into the deer’s heart.
As soon as Chris saw the velvet-covered antlers up close, long past the usual rub-off date, he turned the deer over and looked at its undercarriage. He expected to find either no or damaged testicles, the chief cause of diminished testosterone, unshed antlers and perpetual velvet, but they appeared normal.
“That was the first thing I did. I was surprised to see everything was there,” he said. “They might not have been as big as a normal buck’s, if there was any difference at all. But everything was intact.”
The antlers have not yet been measured.
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