Here’s what you need to know statistically about the 180-inch (green, gross) buck Zac Carothers shot with a bow Sunday in Coahoma County.
It is a natural 14-point, practically symmetrical from the base to the ends of its twin, 26-inch main beams. What it lacks in tine length — the longest is 8 inches — it makes up for in mass.
Not only in the circumferences that hold above 5 inches through all but one allowable measurement, but also in measurable boney material.
At the widest point, the two beams were 21 inches apart.
Now, let’s get down to the interesting and intriguing parts of this story. Zac Carothers was hunting with his best friend, favorite hunting partner and his mentor, Sean Carothers.
“He’s always been my hunting partner, and I killed my first deer with him when I was 6 with a rifle,” the son said. “He played a big role in this buck because he passed on it last year when it was a 150- or 160-inch 12 point. It was right under his stand for 10 minutes.
“Dad knows deer and he knew it was young and would get bigger if it survived. It was a big buck but Dad knew had potential to be a lot bigger if he let it walk.”
The buck survived even though all the members of the Coahoma County club knew it was there. Going into this season the Carothers knew the competition for the big buck would be tough.
But only on Sunday did Zac Carothers know just how brutal it could get.
“Everybody knew this buck was around and they were hunting him pretty hard,” he said. “I guess there were at least six or seven hunting him hard. Heck, there was a guy 100 yards from me hunting with a rifle Sunday.”
The Carothers are bow hunters in a club with members who will hunt with a gun when allowed. Father and son never hunt fields because as bow hunters they prefer to be in the woods.
“I signed in Sunday to this stand I was hunting near a big oak tree where the big buck was showing up (on camera) nearly every day to feed,” Zac Carothers said. “I have to put my name on a stand so I put on this nearby field. Everybody knew I was going to be in the woods.
“That stand I wanted is on the main road. When I walked to it, there was a truck parked right under my stand. I’m not kidding you; it was right under it."
The disgusted hunter decided to walk to a stand on the field that he’d signed in to hunt. He climbed up, sat down and continued stewing.
“About 4:30, I looked up down the main road, which I could see from the stand, and out this big buck walked heading right to the oak and my stand,” Carothers said. “Man, I was mad. He stopped when he saw the truck, stared at it for a minute and then, luckily, he spun and ran toward me and the field. He got out in the field about 75 yards and stopped, stuck his nose in the air and looked around. Then he put his tail up and bolted back out of the field.
“I figured he’d got my wind and took off. I said, ‘he ain’t coming back here today. I’m done.’ A few minutes later I texted to Dad that I was going to get down and leave.”
“Then a doe walked out near my stand and I decided to give it a chance. A few minutes later, about 5:15, two 8-points walked out in a far corner of the field about 75 yards away,” Carothers said. “A minute or two later, the big boy came out behind them and they just stood around feeding in that corner. I didn’t have a lot of hope. They were just staying in that corner.
“But, then another doe walked out under my stand. That was luck. The two 8s saw her and came running toward her. It’s the pre-rut up here and they came to her. They didn’t run her, but just sort of bumping her.”
Which, of course, the dominant buck in the land couldn’t stand.
“He bowed up and ran toward them and chased them out of the field,” Carothers said. “When he got rid of them he stopped and gave me a perfect broadside shot at 42 yards. I couldn’t believe it.”
Carothers lifted his Mathews Monster bow, set on 65 pounds, went to full draw and put his single pin on the buck.
“It’s set at 30 yards, and I had just ranged the field and I knew he was about 40 yards,” Carothers said. “I aimed a little high and hit the release. It was one of those shots that when you take it, you just know it’s right. You know it’s a dead deer.”
The shot was a bit high, but the 100-grain Rage Trypan broad head entered just behind the shoulder.
“It didn’t pass through, and I could see the Nockturnal glowing when he hit the woods,” Carothers said. “I knew he was going far, but my Dad and I, to be safe, decided to wait two hours and get my blood-trailing dog. His name is Tracks for Cash.”
The dog’s nose was money.
“Found him in 30 seconds,” Zac Carothers said. “Took us longer to get to him than it did him to find it. The deer didn’t go 50 yards out of the field.”
It was by far the biggest buck the young hunter had ever killed.
“I killed a 150-inch 8-point last year in Illinois with my bow, and I killed a 165-inch buck with my gun several years ago before I went bow only,” Carothers said. “I’m all bow now.”
The 14-point will surely put Carothers near the top of the record book for archery typicals in Mississippi. The record belongs to Earl Stubblefield with a 2016 12-point that scored 181 2/8. At No. 2 is a 173 2/-inch buck killed in 2012 by Kevin Medlin in DeSoto County.
“All I know is that I have a buck of a lifetime,” Carothers said. “I am very fortunate.”
Click here to read other big-buck stories from this season.