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Peach County “Nockturnal” Buck Scores 165+

The story behind the November GON cover buck.

Craig James | November 1, 2020

When a hunter finds himself on the cover of GON with a giant buck, you can bet there’s a good story behind the harvest. Nic Bekkers’ buck on this month’s cover is no exception to the rule. As a matter of fact it was a blunder last year that gave the buck its lasting nickname, “Nockturnal.”

“I first started taking notice to Nockturnal a couple of years ago, then last season he became a good shooter buck in the 140s range before breaking off his G2. He was still a good-looking, 130-inch buck, and he was definitely on the hit list.”

Opening weekend of 2019 had Nic sitting in front of a feeder the buck frequented, hopeful he would get an opportunity to let his arrow fly.

“He came in with three other bucks and just came walking straight to me. It was like a dream, things just never go that good,” said Nic.

The buck closed in to 8 yards, and Nic released his arrow. Instantly the good dream turned to a nightmare as Nic’s arrow banana peeled from the nock, exploding and landing in front of his buck.

“The day before I had put on a Nockturnal nock, and for whatever reason when I released, it failed, causing my arrow to explode. It was heartbreaking.”

A month or so later in October 2019, Nic would get another glimpse of Nockturnal, but once again the odds didn’t prove to be in his favor.

“He was at the feeder 43 yards out, but he never gave me a good shot. I decided not to send an arrow that I may regret,” said Nic.

Nic chose not to rifle hunt the buck in 2019, due to their history. He decided he’d get him with his bow or not at all.

In late spring of 2020, Nic began filling his feeders with AntlerXtreme pellets, a move that would pay off big time in a few months.

“Danny Sanders (owner of AntlerXtreme) convinced me to give it a try. Man I’m glad I did,” said Nic.

When Nic’s Covert Scouting Camera sent a picture to his phone in late June, he couldn’t believe his eyes. There stood Nockturnal noticeably larger than the year before.

“I was ecstatic. I was glad he had made it, and I hoped I’d get another opportunity at him,” said Nic. “I hunt our land we live on here at the house. We manage and hunt roughly 1,000 acres, but I knew in my gut that if he was going to step out, it would be at the same feeder 43 yards from my stand.”

Nic spent the remainder of the summer sending hundreds of arrows at a target 43 yards away, simulating the exact conditions he hoped for. When the 2020 season started, Nic hunted the stand every time the wind was right.

“I didn’t want to go in there with the wrong wind and mess up my chance,” said Nic.

On the afternoon of Sept. 29, despite his best attempts to conceal his scent, a deer busted Nic.

“I own Lethal scent eliminator products, and I believe we have some of the best products on the market, but sometimes despite your best efforts, you just can’t beat a deer’s nose,” said Nic.

The next day, with a favorable wind again, Nic applied his line of scent-killing products and headed for his stand. At almost 6:30 p.m., Nockturnal emerged.

“He came out of the woods at the feeder 43 yards away, and I knew this might be my only chance at the monster buck,” said Nic.

Nic waited for the right moment and drew back his bow.

“I said a little prayer as I lined up my sights, and a peace came over me. I spent so many hours in the summer practicing for this exact moment, it all felt so natural,” said Nic.

Nic sent his arrow flying, and this time it found its mark.

Nic Bekkers with his Peach County buck named Nockturnal killed Sept. 29, 2020. The rack grossed more than 165 inches.

“I was pretty sure I’d seen the buck go down, and I’d hit him good, but  I decided to play it safe and wait a few hours. I called and texted several friends and told them about the shot. By the time we went to track the deer, I’d say we had 10 head looking for him,” said Nic.

The tracking job proved easy as Nic’s Grim Reaper four-blade broadhead had done quite the damage.

“I’ve never had a blood trail like that in my life. That thing blew a hole through him,” said Nic.

After 75 yards, there laid the giant buck.

“I can’t explain what it felt like, for it to have all come full circle like it did. It was awesome to have a chance to harvest such an animal. I’m truly blessed,” said Nic.

Nockturnal has been green scored at 165-plus inches with 12 scoreable points. A truly massive buck with a most impressive story.

 

Peach County All-Time Bow-Bucks

Based on official scores, compiled by GON

Rank Score Name Year County Method Photo
1 155 6/8 Travis Harvill 2002 Peach Bow
2 151 4/8 Matthew Barecky 2014 Peach Bow View 
3 147 5/8 Danny Sanders 2019 Peach Bow
4 144 7/8 Nic Bekkers 2020 Peach Bow View 
5 143 2/8 Eric Parker 2021 Peach Bow View 
6 141 John Pearson 1990 Peach Bow View 
7 139 2/8 Scott Lopez 2019 Peach Bow View 
8 138 6/8 David Sams 2011 Peach Bow
9 138 4/8 Brian Roberson 2005 Peach Bow
10 138 David Sams 2009 Peach Bow

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