Every year when bow seasons open in September in some states across the country, one state gets particularly hot for big bucks. This year it’s North Carolina, where the archery season opened September 8.

First we blogged about the 160-inch velvet 8-pointer that Brandon Johnson killed on opening day. Since then we’ve heard of 4 more NC giants. We got word of all these bucks from the Carolina Sportsman website. If you hunt or fish in the Carolinas, you need to check out and bookmark this site, it’s a fantastic regional resource.

Jonathan Phillips of Pittsboro, NC shot this 9 1/2-year-old buck (above) on opening day. The Chatham County deer scored 137 5/8, proof that rack score means little. Anybody who kills a 10-year-old buck with a bow and arrow has accomplished one of the top feats in the whitetail world.

Don Hawkins hit the woods in Guilford County on Friday the 13th, hoping to see in person a buck he’d been watching on trail cameras for some time. What a lucky day it was. He arrowed his best buck ever, a 6×5 non-typical whose antlers green-scored 157 5/8 inches.

Ryan Long of Greensboro watched a big 10-point buck all summer with the help of trail cameras. On opening day of archery season, he killed the Guilford County buck. The rack with shredded velvet rough-scored 155.

Daniel Clarida of Reidsville, NC had a long history with this Rockingham County buck. The deer had an oddly-shaped tine, prompting Clarida to nickname the animal “Chiquita.” The 12-point buck’s rack taped out with a green score of 150 7/8.

All great buck hunts with 2 common themes that I have been blogging about and talking about on TV for years:

1) Early bow season in September, when bucks are still locked into predictable bed-to-feed patterns, is second only to the rut as the best time to shoot a giant.

2) All the hunters above had monitored the big NC bucks with trail cameras. Check out these tips on where to put your cameras for early-season hunting.