What’s better than being the final Week 12 winner of the HuntStand Big Buck ALERT contest? Sharing every second of the memorable experience with your dad at your side.
The 2016 HuntStand Big Buck ALERT contest has featured some incredible bucks, and some amazing HuntStand app success stories. But when it comes to truly perfect endings, West Virginia’s Ty Carter might have saved the best example for the last. In late November, Carter, 23, capped a two-year quest for a reclusive West Virginia giant by dropping the wide-racked mainframe basic 10-point, complete with gnarly split brow tine, as his dad Bo watched. For his steady aim Ty Carter becomes the 12th, and final, winner of the 2016 HuntStand Big Buck ALERT contest; for the exciting details we’ll let Ty take it from here.
“Many people know West Virginia is not really known as a ‘Big Buck’ state, but here is my story:
“It all started in 2015 when a trail camera I placed on my grandpa’s farm in Ravenswood, WV showed a heavy-set, wide-racked buck making an appearance in late October,” Carter recalled. “As soon as I saw the photo on my computer screen I gave this buck the nickname ‘Wide Load.’
“During the 2015 season the buck was a nocturnal ghost, never to be seen on the hoof or captured on camera in daylight. I was determined to find his sheds this past February but had no luck,” Carter continued. “Then the neighboring property owner posted a picture on social media of the buck’s left-side shed, and I knew he had made it through to the 2016 season.
“I had high hopes for the 2016 season knowing ‘Wide Load’ was still around but it wasn’t until late September when I again captured him on my game cam. I knew a buck of his age and size wasn’t going to be easy to connect with. Our state sees high hunting pressure, which contributes to a relatively poor age structure, but we have been doing our part on letting them go so they can grow.
“I only hunted ‘Wide Load’ when the weather and wind direction on my HuntStand app showed it was right,” Carter recalled. “Bow season passed with only one close encounter; I had hunted the wrong stand one evening in late October and my trail camera showed he was at another stand of mine just up the hill, 150 yards to my right. I’ll admit I was bummed this was the only time I had ever been that close to him in two years. However, this only fueled my obsession.
“When November hit, as all big bucks seem to do, he suddenly vanished—then just as suddenly reappeared on camera (five photos) during the second week of November, cruising for a hot doe. With gun season quickly approaching, I held onto the hope that pressure from other hunters would eventually push him back onto our property, and we would cross paths.
“I hunted the first three days of gun season with a lot of action, which included passing on several nice young bucks—but there was no sign of ‘Wide Load.’ It wasn’t until Friday of that week when my dad (Bo Carter) returned from visiting family in Texas, over Thanksgiving. So Saturday morning, November 26th, we both set out together for my grandpa’s farm before daylight.
“While sitting in the truck waiting for daybreak my dad convinced me to go to the treestand where I had seen all the movement in previous days. So I pulled out my phone and looked at my HuntStand app to make sure the wind was right. To my surprise it showed a perfect wind for a different treestand, one where I thought I would have the best chance of seeing ‘Wide Load.’
“My Dad and I got out and he started to walk to another treestand, when I asked if he wanted to hunt the opposite side of the point I would be hunting. He agreed, and because it had rained a bit overnight, it was easy for us to slip through the leaves with little noise. We topped the hill onto a gas well road, then took a few steps forward when I caught the flicker of a white tail 40 yards in front of us. Immediately I pulled my T/C ProHunter to my shoulder and started to scan for a better view; it was a doe. I lowered my gun just enough to glance behind her and that’s when I saw a big set of antlers coming through the thicket. I pulled the hammer back and got on the same spot where the doe had just passed, between two small trees. The buck’s main beam and left G4 came into the scope and I knew that it was ‘Wide Load!’ As the buck moved into my scope crosshairs I squeezed the trigger.
“After the shot I turned to my dad in excitement. ‘That was Wide Load! I just shot Wide Load!’ As I dropped to one knee from being so overwhelmed by emotion, my dad told me the buck never reacted to the shot, so he eased slowly ahead to check things out while avoiding pushing the buck too hard. I stood impatiently wondering if I had made a good shot, when I saw my dad suddenly mount his gun and flick the safety off. My heart stopped for a second, but then he lowered his gun and beckoned me on.
As I neared my dad I looked down and saw a wide blood trail; I turned to the right and there he was—Wide Load had fallen! My Dad and I stood over him hugging and shedding tears of joy; neither of us could say anything for several minutes. Then I thanked my dad for introducing me to the outdoors and told him this moment was what it’s all about. We both shared a memory that neither of us will ever forget. I called and roused my girlfriend out of bed to come take photos and to bring my ATV to help with the recovery. It meant the world to me having my dad there with me as I took the shot on my West Virginia buck of a lifetime.”
Congratulations, Ty, on an awesome buck and a hunt memory that indeed, you will never forget. Thanks to all who have submitted photos and stories to date; there were many incredible, worthy entries, and Team HuntStand hopes to share more of your HuntStand success stories in upcoming feature articles. So stay tuned!
For his Week 12 win, Carter will be sent a pair of ThermaCELL ProFLEX Heated Insoles valued at $185. Their state-of-the-art wireless thermal technology with convenient remote operation delivers at least 2,500 hours (about four winters) of heavy use. Simply adjust the temperature utilizing the wireless remote control to the setting of your choice: no heat (standby), medium (100°F), and high (111°F). The result is warm, comfortable, sweat-free feet.
Again, thanks for all your stories and photos, and remember to be on the lookout for even more HuntStand contests in the coming weeks and months. Happy Holidays from all of us here at Team HuntStand; don’t forget to spread the word during your holiday gatherings with family and friends, about the FREE HuntStand app that can help make lasting outdoor memories, and dreams come true in 2017!