By Mark Kenyon
Today we’ve got a great story of the hunt for a mature North Carolina buck! If you think you can only kill big bucks in the Midwest, think again! Congrats Joseph on a great buck! – MK

“I named this buck last year in 2011 when I passed him up the first time. I had already killed my best North Carolina bow buck on opening weekend, and I was hunting a much bigger buck. He was headed to a field where a buddy’s wife was rifle hunting. She saw the buck but didn’t feel comfortable with the shot(200+ yards). We talked about it after the hunt, and she was very excited about it. Her name is Krystal so I started calling him the Krystal buck. I knew Krystal was a solid 3 maybe 4 year old at the time. He was a 8 with short tines and a large body.

2012 comes along and Krystal is with the same bachelor group as the year before. All the younger deer have passed him in antler size, but his body is much larger and he was no doubt the boss in that group. Same as the year before I was hunting a much larger buck in that area I call Big John. But with no day time pics in two years, and two plus weeks into the season without seeing a racked buck – Krystal was starting to look real good. With a little cool down in the weather I decided to hunt a swamp stand that all these buck were using. Its an old path that was cut in the swamp for irrigation years ago. Its one of the only dry spots for a few hundred yards each direction. It works as a funnel being only 20 yards wide. The bucks use it for a scrape and rub line each year.

I got in the stand around 5 or so, and it felt really good out. With a light north wind being the not so perfect wind, I was hoping that any buck would be shot before he hit my wind. At 6:40 I heard a buck making a scrape about 80 yards away. I hit the grunt call with 3 soft grunts. Not 20 seconds later he popped out coming straight at me. As soon as I saw him, I knew what buck it was. Right away I noticed his huge body and thought that he was a better buck than the trail cam pictures gave him credit for. At 30 yards I drew, he was coming fast. He got by my first clear lane and hit my wind.

He squatted down like he knew he has screwed up. In my head I’m thinking please don’t run, still at full draw. He turned to walk away, but its right in a clear lane at 18 yards. I saw the Nockturnal hit perfect and he bounced back down the over grown path into the swamp. I heard him hit the water but I knew he couldn’t make it very far. I slipped down to check the arrow, good blood from tip to tip. Nothing to do now but get my hip waders and try not to get bit by a cottonmouth. As all the deer I’ve shot with a slicktrick, finding blood was not a issue. I found where he hit the water and it was about knee deep. 20 yards into the water and I shine my light up the blood trail. I saw a main beam sticking out of the water. ” – Joseph Johnson