Trophy dream comes true in a ghostly way for this North Carolina deer hunter.
My amazing story started when I got to hunt a friend’s land in central North Carolina. It’s a large block of woods surrounded by housing developments just outside the city limits. Surprisingly, there is very little hunting pressure.
In early August of 2010, I set up my trail camera to see what was roaming the area. I got several pictures of bucks well before hunting season while they were still in bachelor groups. The only problem was all the pictures were at night.
There were several bucks that looked plenty big enough to wear my tag, but once the season started, they all disappeared. I had no idea where they might have gone.
Then, on Nov. 9, I checked my camera and got my first daylight image of a big buck. It was shocking, but I immediately knew this was a deer of special significance. I hadn’t realized it before because the night pictures were infrared, but I was looking at a big albino buck. He was snow white from head to tail.
I was in my stand as much as possible over the next few weeks. I got one more picture in the middle of the day, so I knew he was still in the area.
On Nov. 22 at about 3:45, I climbed into my stand for an afternoon hunt.
Just 15 minutes later, I looked over my left shoulder and saw a ghostly white figure atop a ridge behind the stand. I panicked at first. The buck was coming from where I had parked my car and was sure to cross my entry trail.
When he didn’t spook, I remember thinking, “This is it. Your chance is coming.”
The buck began to angle toward the stand, and I began to shake.
I also began a mental debate I had never experienced in a stand. Part of me wanted to take that deer, while another part wanted to just sit and watch it for as long as possible. I knew it was something I had never seen before and probably would never see again.
The buck headed down the hill and stopped about 40 yards out to eat some acorns. When it turned broadside, I knew it was time to take the shot.
I lost all doubt and shouldered my rifle. When I pulled the trigger, the buck dropped immediately.
I remember sitting there looking at the downed buck from the treestand. It was a very emotional experience. Seeing such a rare buck on camera, hunting it and then actually taking it was humbling.
I finally got down and walked over to the deer. I spent a long time looking at it and thinking about all the years I had been a deer hunter — about all the time I had spent dreaming about taking a trophy. Now I had just taken a trophy the likes of which only a handful of hunters have ever seen, let alone harvested.
That buck was the wildest thing I’ve ever seen. It had no skin pigment, and the eyes were almost white, except for a pale bluish tint.
There are many myths and legends about albino deer, especially bucks, and now I know why. The whole experience was surreal.
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