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Like Father, Like Son

Jordan and Kenny Deloatch

Two generations of Kiblers take two generations of trophy North Carolina bucks.

By Dan Kibler
Photo courtesy of Kenny Deloatch

Kenny Deloatch knew there was a huge buck living on one section of the farm he had been hunting in northeastern North Carolina for six or seven years.

He tried his best to let his son, Jordan, get first crack at it during the 2003 hunting season, but his plans, however well intentioned, didn’t work out.

Well, looking at it almost two years later, maybe they didn’t work out so poorly after all.

Deloatch shot the enormous buck in December of 2003, and Jordan, his 12-year-old son, took another big one in October of 2004, using the same rifle, not too terribly far apart.

What’s more, the two bucks appear to have as much in common as the hunters. There’s an awfully good chance that father and son shot, well, a father and son – the whitetail version – 10 months apart.

Deloatch the elder took the older whitetail – an immense buck with a 5x5 frame, a 25 1/2-inch outside spread, split P-2s on both sides and a sticker point on the left beam for a total of 13 points, seven on the right antler and six on the left. Its BTR score of 155 puts it among the best ever taken in North Carolina.

The son’s buck carried a 4x5 main frame and 13 points. It had a split P-2 on one side, a sticker point on the left beam in the same spot as its father’s buck, and another common characteristic – a longer brow tine on the right beam than the left. Jordan’s buck had an 18-inch outside spread and scored 124 BTR points as a typical, with only 5.5-percent irregularity. The sticker points that made his father’s deer such a monster were there on his own buck – just much smaller.

There’s little doubt in Kenny Deloatch’s mind that his offspring killed the offspring of the big buck he killed.

A banker from Roanoke Rapids, N.C., Deloatch and a partner operate Meherrin River Outfitters on a farm in Southampton County, Va., that adjoins the property in Hertford County, N.C., where the two big bucks were taken, a place he has hunted since the mid 1990s.

It is a trophy-buck haven in the middle of some of the richest deer habitat that either state has to offer. Southampton County has been among Virginia’s top deer counties for the past three decades; Hertford County sits cheek-by-jowl with Northampton and Halifax counties, which have been 1-2 in North Carolina in total harvest for decades. The soil on either side of the state line is extremely fertile; the two counties are part of what’s known as the Peanut Belt, with tremendous agricultural yields from the deep, dark soils of the Roanoke River drainage.

One Boone & Crockett Club buck was killed several years ago in Virginia on a nearby farm, and Deloatch’s 19-year-old son, Ryan, found the skull and partially chewed antlers of an enormous buck – 8 points, 21 3/4 inches wide, with 18-inch back tines – on the North Carolina land several years ago.

So Deloatch wasn’t surprised when he saw a huge buck while walking to his stand a few minutes late one morning just before Thanksgiving in 2003. He was cutting across the corner of a 5-acre cornfield, going to his box blind, at “just about cracking light,” he said, when he saw several deer in the uncut field. Hurricane Isabel had blown down much of the corn, and it was anywhere from ankle to waist high – not to be harvested.

One deer detected Deloatch easing across the edge of the field and threw up its head. It was a huge buck with an extremely wide rack. “We did a stare down,” Deloatch said. “I never got my rifle off my back. Then, he went back in the woods and left a couple of small bucks and does in the field.”

Deloatch badly wanted Jordan, then 11, to get a shot at the buck. He hunted with his son in that stand as often as possible, but Jordan, having never killed an antlered buck before, took a nice 6-pointer over Thanksgiving vacation instead of waiting for the trophy to reappear.

The first week of December, Deloatch saw the big buck again. He was helping the landowner with some chores, and dogs from a neighboring hunt club ran the huge buck across the far end of a 100-acre cornfield. “He was a thousand yards away, but you didn’t need binoculars to see him. We just stood there and talked about how big that deer was,” Deloatch said.

Two weeks later, on Dec. 18, Deloatch was back on the farm, helping the landowner repair a pasture fence onto which Hurricane Isabel had deposited several trees, when he heard a couple of dogs working a 50-acre block of woods close to the Meherrin River. He grabbed his rifle and walked to one end of the block of woods, then watched the dogs push out a nice 8-point buck, a couple of does and a forkhorn.

“I was watching the dogs and deer run into a little cutover, and something caught my eye. This big buck was standing there in a little fire lane, watching. The dogs and the other deer were about 100 yards ahead of him. Then, he bounced about three times out into the cutover and stopped. Before he could start bouncing again, I shot him.”

Deloatch’s .300 Magnum took the buck perfectly, the 150-grain Nosler bullet dropping it in its tracks at a range of 120 yards. The buck weighed 188 pounds, and biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission estimated its age – from tooth wear on the lower jawbone – at 6 1/2.

Subscribe Today!Father and son were back at it on Oct. 4 the following year. They hunted together in the morning, and after lunch, Kenny Deloatch went back to Roanoke Rapids to help his parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. He left Jordan, now a 12-year-old sixth grader, to hunt with a friend that afternoon. They headed to the field where Kenny Deloatch had first spied the big buck 11 months earlier. This time, however, the field was in soybeans instead of corn.

“We went back out to the stand probably around 3:30,” Jordan said. “A couple of does came out, and we watched them for a little while. It was closing in on dusky dark when this deer came into the field. I watched him, then I looked through the scope, and I saw a lot of horns.”

Jordan didn’t waste any time in anchoring the buck with the same Remington Model 700 rifle that his father had used to take his trophy buck in 2003. The buck, shot through the shoulders at 200 yards, dropped in its tracks.

“I thought he was big, but I was shocked when I got to him. I didn’t know he would look that much like my dad’s deer,” Jordan said.

Biologists judged Jordan’s buck to be 4 1/2, which cemented Kenny Deloatch’s belief that his son had killed an offspring of his deer of a lifetime.

“I’d rather that Jordan had taken my big buck because we hunted it together for a while, but just to have a chance to hunt a deer that big with him was great,” Kenny Deloatch said. “Then he shoots this other deer. That really made me a proud father.”

This article was published in the October 2005 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Join today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.

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