200-Inch West Virginia Buck Is Almost a State Record

The rain and wind was howling, when Josh Carter, 29, checked his remote cellphone trail camera Halloween morning for pictures to see if any deer had come near his treestand. It was 5:30 a.m. and Carter was a bit dubious about heading out to bowhunt in such poor weather…until he looked at two remote camera photos of a massive buck he’d never seen. He gathered gear and headed to the woods, climbing up into a fixed-position treestand about 8 a.m. The stand has been a productive spot on an oak ridge flat. Carter had not hunted it this season, but his father-in-law, Brad Butcher, arrowed a 10-pointer there in 2020.

Carter was hunting a small 50-acre lease in Logan County (a bow-only county) near the Kentucky state line. The rain diminished about mid-morning, but the wind was still blowing strong.

“The strong wind may have helped me because I was near a ridge, and deer were filtering along on the hillside 25 feet below me,” says Carter, who owns a trucking business.

The rut was on, and bucks were roaming, but Carter only saw a small buck about 9 a.m. He was checking his phone about 11 when he glanced up and the massive buck from his trail camera photos was looking at him, already in bow range.

“I didn’t move, and eventually he turned away and started feeding slowly on acorns,” says Carter. “Incredibly, he was downwind of me, but well below my stand so he didn’t wind me.”

At 15 yards, the buck stepped behind a tree, shielding Carter from the deer so he could draw his 65-pound Hoyt bow. When the buck stepped out, he turned quartering away, and Carter sent a Rage Hypodermic broadhead behind its shoulder. Carter knew the arrow hit was good, and the buck raced away, falling about 80 yards from his stand. The deer is one of about 15 Carter has taken with a bow.

He called his father-in-law, who arrived an hour later and helped recover the buck, field dress it, and drag it downhill and out of the woods.

The 18-point buck is estimated at 6.5 to 7.5 years old, with an estimated live weight of 220 pounds. It gross green scored 214 6/8s inches, netting 200 2/8s. 

Carter’s buck is shy of the state record non-typical, a 212 1/8-inch deer taken in 1986 by bowhunter Jerry Hill.

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