The red deer is the first deer the young hunter has taken
An Alabama teen who'd never shot a deer before managed to take one down that numbers of seasoned hunters had been pursuing for months. The big deer, weighing more than a whopping 300 pounds, was actually a red stag, which is not native to North America.
Although Coye Potts, 16, had attempted to take a deer on more than 50 previous hunts, he'd had no luck. But, that luck changed November 3 when he made a perfect shot at 32 yards with his crossbow.
According to the Ledger-Enquirer, about a year ago, Pott's maternal grandfather, Phillip Taylor, who lives about six miles from the Georgia border in Rock Mills, Alabama, began occasionally seeing a large deer that looked like a darn moose in his goat pasture. Last month, he'd see the animal almost daily as it munched on the apples and pears off Taylor's trees. Since he doesn't hunt, he asked Potts to take a shot at the deer.
A couple of weeks later, Potts set up early in the morning in a homemade blind of burlap and sticks he built on his grandfather's property. Sure enough, the stag walked out in to the pasture.
Potts said he thought, Golly, that thing is huge. It don't look like no whitetail.
And it wasn't. Although red deer are not native to Alabama, they occasionally escape enclosures and are spotted in the wild.
Marianne Gauldin, a conservation education specialist in Alabama's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said, They are at times harvested by Alabama hunters, typically one or two instances per season.
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Since it wasn't gun season, Potts attempted to take the red deer with his crossbow, but missed. He said a feed bag that was caught in the deer's antlers blocked his sight line. He hunted twice more a week later, but couldn't get a clear shot. Taylor encouraged his grandson to be patient. On his third day hunting that week, Potts took one of his friends, Hudson Vowell, with him. Vowell, 17, used a rangefinder to spot for Potts. After waiting in the blind approximately 90 minutes, the deer emerged from the woods.
Vowell said he was amazed by the scene.
It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing, he said. I don't think I'll ever see another deer that big — or a red stag in general that someone didn't pay for — walking around in Alabama freely.
Potts waited until the deer was 32 yards away and broadside before he took the shot.
Potts' shot hit both lungs and the heart.
He might have went 5 yards, Potts said, but he dropped right there.
After the successful shot, Taylor, who watched the hunt unfold from a distance, gushed with pride. Coye was so excited, he was about to cry, Taylor said. "He's just an amazing kid… Lord, have mercy, it was something to see.
The stag had 11 points and weighed approximatley 300 pounds. After photos, it took four people — Potts, Vowell, Taylor, and Potts' paternal grandfather, Mike Potts — to lift the deer into Potts' truck.
Coye drove the stag to East Alabama Deer Processing in Roanoke. For seven or eight months, the owner, Justin Benefield, had been hearing stories about a red stag in the area.
Even though this thing was obviously raised in a high-fence farm, he said, how cool is it that it had the opportunity to get out and experience what it has since it's been out and legally harvested in a state that it's not even native to? Man, I wish I could have had a shot at it…. There were a lot of jealous people who didn't get the opportunity to do it.
The deer bottomed out on the shop's manual spring scale at 280 pounds. That's why they estimated its weight at more than 300 pounds.
It's three times bigger than an average whitetail, Benefield said.
But it's small for a red stag, which can weigh more than 500 pounds. Benefield says the red stag will yield more than 100 pounds of meat.
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