When Codey Cromer of Lawsonville, NC saw a tall-racked, full velvet buck on his Stokes County hunting lease on the morning of Oct. 21, he knew it was a special deer. So he wasted no time drawing back on his Buckmaster BTR bow and firing straight through the buck’s vitals from 20 yards away.
Cromer was perched in a tree stand on the edge of a creek adjacent to a corn field, and the velvet buck appeared with a smaller one. They were both headed for the corn field when the hunter put a stop to their plans.
“I saw the velvet buck about 8:30, and I shot it at 8:33,” he said.
The Carbon Express Speed Freak arrow tipped with a Rage Hypodermic mechanical broadhead found its mark, and the buck stumbled off and ran about 30 yards before Cromer heard it crash.
He knew he’d made a good shot, and he took a quick drive to pick up his dad and lifelong friend Darren McHone to help recover the deer, which wasn’t difficult thanks to the ample blood trail.
“The arrow went completely through the buck. The fletching was just barely keeping the arrow from falling all the way out. The blood trail was easy to follow, and I’m glad I got to share the recovery with Darren and my dad,” he said.
And this buck didn’t have just a little velvet still hanging on — the rack was fully covered, just like a late summer buck’s would be.
“Everybody’s been asking me where I got this deer from, because nobody around here has seen a deer in full velvet this late in the year before. I’d never seen this deer before the day I killed it, and even though I’ve got trail camera photos of dozens of deer in all sizes, I have no photos of this one at all,” he said. “And neither does anyone else in the community.”
Some research showed Cromer that the deer suffered from low testosterone, and likely never had, and never would, shed his velvet.
“This deer was special for a number of reasons. It was in full velvet this late in the year, and it’s the first velvet buck I’ve ever killed. It’s also the first deer I’ve ever killed with a bow,” said Cromer, who has killed numerous other deer with shotguns and rifles.
The buck had a mainframe 5x5 rack, and had a total of 14 scoreable points. Tommy Wagner is handling taxidermy duties on the buck to preserve the memory of Cromer’s hunt.