After letting this buck walk last season, young Levi Parker was rewarded with another chance this year with a muzzleloader
|Rack Report Details|
|Time of Year:||October 28, 2023|
|Place:||Stanly County NC|
|Weapon:||Traditions Buckstalker XT Muzzleloader 50-caliber|
Not many experienced hunters can let a big, heavy buck walk by without taking a shot in hopes of seeing it again down the road. Probably even fewer 7-year-olds have that kind of willpower. But Levi Parker isn’t like most 7-year-olds. He loves all things outdoors, including deer, small game, and waterfowl hunting. He’s been hunting, and killing big bucks, since he was 5. In fact, this was Levi’s second buck this season. He took the first, a 145-inch 8, a few weeks ago with his crossbow.
Levi likes to hunt with his dad, Chad, and his grandfather, Bobby Tucker, known to all as PopPop. He and his grandfather were in the stand last season when this exact buck walked by. While he was nice, PopPop, who manages the property with big deer in mind, knew he was young and had the potential to turn into a phenomenal buck. He suggested they give it a pass, and young Levi agreed.
Levi and his grandfather, Bobby Tucker, known as PopPop, proudly showing off Levi’s buck.
This season, the buck was back on trail camera on a regular basis. He had indeed put on some serious growth over the summer. While he looked good on camera, he was even bigger in person. Chad said with a laugh, “PopPop always gives Levi and his Grandmother first dibs on the bucks around here, but if we had known just how big and heavy this buck was, we might have all been chasing him.”
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This wasn’t the first brush with the buck Levi and PopPop had had this season. About a week before, they had bumped him on their way in to the stand. Everyone was worried that the pressure might push the buck out of the area, but he was back on camera just a few days later.
Levi made the shot with his .50 caliber Traditions muzzleloader.
Opening day of the North Carolina muzzleloader season was hot, approaching 90 degrees. Levi and PopPop headed to the box blind to get set up in hopes that the buck would step out, but the excessive heat had the deer locked down. While they had seen a few deer, no shooters had shown. As darkness and the end of shooting light drew near, PopPop asked Levi if he was ready to go. Levi replied, “let’s give it a few more minutes.” Chad explained that the enclosed box blind made it seem a little darker than it was, but there were still several minutes of shooting light remaining.
Not long after the conversation, Levi and PopPop heard rocks rattle in the dry creek bed below. It was the buck they’d been watching for, just 60-70 yards away and headed right at them. “I was really happy and excited and nervous when he came out,” Levi said.
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The buck made it to 40 yards then turned broadside. Levi eased his muzzleloader in the buck’s direction and took careful aim.
The big buck only went 70 yards after the shot.
At the shot, the buck took off. PopPop thought the shot was good, but was worried it might have been a bit high. Not wanting to take a chance on bumping the buck, they gave him plenty of time before taking up the trail. But the extra precaution wasn’t needed. They soon walked up on the deer, just 70 yards from where he had been standing at the shot.
This was Levi’s second buck of the season, following this 145 inch 8 he took with his crossbow a few weeks ago.
Levi’s buck was down for good. The massive rack had a 10-point main frame with a few kickers. Once they had it back home, they green-scored it between 167 and 170 inches. “We’re going to take him to the Dixie Deer Classic and get it officially scored after the drying period,” Chad said.
Levi loves all things outdoors, including small game and waterfowl hunting as well as bow fishing.
“Levi loves to be outside. He loves to hunt. If I’m at work, he bugs his mom to take him over to PopPop’s house so they can go hunt something, he just wants to be out there.” With well over 300 inches of antler already this season and several more good bucks under his belt over the past couple years, chances are good that young Levi might hold the total antler record for 7-year-olds in North Carolina.