GILBERT, W.Va. — When Josh Carter of Gilbert, West Virginia rolled out of bed on the morning of Halloween 2021, there was a steady rain falling and the wind was blowing at a good clip. Conditions were less than ideal for hunting, but he knew the rut was heating up in southern West Virginia. Carter’s attitude made a radical change when he checked his trail cameras on his phone.
“That buck was in there at a little after 5:00 that morning and that was the first time I’d seen him in there ever. And I’m the only person to ever see that buck that I know of,” he explained.
“That Buck” which Carter referenced was a monster deer which would rival the Holy Grail of West Virginia white tail records, the Jerry Hill buck from 1986 in Wyoming County.
Carter rolled out and headed for his hunting property in Logan County where the camera had captured the new and massive buck. Halfway there, he realized he’d forgotten some equipment and had to return home. One would expect the delay to be costly, but it didn’t seem to matter.
“I didn’t actually get into the woods until a little after eight that morning. I made the shot at a little after eleven that morning,” he explained in a recent interview on West Virginia Outdoors.
With the fall rut in high gear, Carter’s presence in the woods seemed to be of no consequence to the brute of a buck who actually came at him on the down wind side.
“I was in my stand texting on my phone and I looked up to my right and he was looking at the tree stand,” Carter explained.
Carter carefully sat still until he had the chance to put the phone away, stand up, and pull his bow to full draw undetected.
“He got behind a tree where he couldn’t see me and I couldn’t see him. I got up and drew my bow back, he took two steps out from behind that tree, quartered away from me, and I made the shot,” Carter said.
According to Carter, the buck ran about 80 yards down the hill and he heard the crash deep in the hollow below. He gave the buck an hour before he came off the perch to begin the track. The rain complicated the blood trail, but Carter was able to follow disturbed leaves and brush which led straight to where the massive buck lay dead.
Although many, including Carter, thought the deer would be the new state record, it won’t be the case. A green score revealed the gross score at 214 6/8 non-typical. However, deductions rolled the final score back to 200 2/8ths. That could slip below 200 by the time the 60 day drying period is finished. Nevertheless, Carter has entered a unique club.
“Anything over 200 inches is a massive buck. It’s a blessing to kill a deer like that in southern West Virginia. To push that record and even be close to that record is a blessing,” he said.