By Greg Biggerstaff
-- I am originally from North Carolina and grew up hunting and fishing with my grandfather, Roy, Uncle Chris and my dad, Lee Biggerstaff. I killed my first deer in Northampton County when I was 14. I have taken numerous deer in Florida and North Carolina. I have even harvested quite a few wild hogs in the Sunshine State.
This last season was different though. Every year during the last part of October, my wife, Yvonne, and I head back to Jackson, N.C., to hunt with my family. We have done this for 4 or 5 years now. We always have a great time when we are there, especially since it's about the only time I get to go home.
My wife took her first deer, a doe, on one of these trips. She went on to kill two more does the same week. However, she had never taken a buck. I really wanted her to get one with horns on its head.
This past year, I had just made it back from Iraq in time for bow season, and I had killed one nice hog with my bow in Florida. But that was about it. Then October came and we headed for annual trip to North Carolina. This time we took my best friend, Mike Hartz. He is a former soldier who introduced me to Yvonne. She was his shift supervisor while she was in the Army.
My wife and I arrived on Monday and my uncle shot a really nice 8-point buck that morning. I yelled at him for killing my deer, and he laughed and rubbed it in.
Anyway, the first morning hunt was uneventful, but then that afternoon I shot two deer - one big doe and one small button buck. I was just trying to get some meat for the cooler since I had driven all this way to hunt. No one else had seen anything so we went back to my grandfather's house and celebrated my success.
The next morning, my wife, dad, uncle and I went to a small piece of private property where several stands were on opposing sides of a cotton field. Three of the stands faced down an old cutover that had grown up and now had lanes cut out of them in front of the stands. The other stand was across the field. My wife sat in the "Taj Mahal," a huge stand built for my grandfather. I sat in "Big T," a large tripod stand, about 300 yards to the right of her. My dad took a smaller stand called "Little T" about 200 yards to my right, and Chris sat behind us all in the field stand.
I had hardly gotten comfortable in my stand and settled in when I saw some movement about 80 yards in front of me. The light was still very low, but I pulled up my rangefinder to look down the lane. I thought it was a deer, but I couldn't tell. As I watched the lane, I saw the animal walk straight down the lane. It was headed toward my stand.
I shouldered my rifle to get a better look. There it was. A shooter buck! I watched the deer turn its head and reveal a very nice main beam. That was all the information I needed. I dropped the crosshairs to the base of its neck and pulled the trigger.
The deer buckled hard, fell backwards, then jumped up and ran. I sat there for about 30 minutes before getting down. I began to look all over and only found a small speck of blood. I walked into the thickets three times and got within 30 feet of the buck twice, but didn't see it.
On the third attempt, I saw the buck lying in a water hole. I walked over and found my big 7-pointer. I was so excited I wanted to scream, but I kept my composure. I dragged the buck out into the lane and went back to my stand. Moments later, I saw my dad and uncle walking over. They were very excited and we all rejoiced over my success. This was my biggest buck to date.
As we were walking out to meet my wife at her stand, we saw her erratically pointing out the back of the stand telling us to shut up! We stopped, stood still, and BANG! I walked around the stand to see the buck's white belly. She shot her buck at 132 yards away. She thought the deer was a tall spike, but it turned out to be a basket 6-pointer.
It was probably the best day in the field so far for me. My deer was a 7-pointer that had a 16 1/4-inch rack and weighed 170 pounds. My wife's buck was a basket 6-pointer that weighed about 140 pounds. We took many pictures and even filmed some of the recovery.
On a side note, the week-long hunt produced four deer for me and two for my wife; Mike shot a doe and a 10-point buck at 355 yards. Its rack had heavy mass rack that was 16.25 inches wide, and it weighed about 180 pounds. It was one of the best trips we have experienced in North Carolina.
This year the expectations are high. All that really matters to me is being in the woods doing what I love most with my wife and the three mentors of my life, Roy, Lee, and Chris Biggerstaff. I get to see my grandfather, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends of the family when I go there. It really is what an outdoorsman loves the most, his family and friends, out in the field, and at home.