The buck jumped as the arrow struck.
"I could see it was a good shot. The arrow hit just behind the right shoulder," Copley said.
The buck ran down into a nearby ravine, started up the other side and paused.
"He stood there for a second or two, then staggered and fell," Copley said. "I knew then that I had him."
Like any good bowhunter, Copley waited several minutes to make absolutely certain his quarry was dead before walking over to it. "Besides, I had to wait a few minutes for my legs to start working again," he joked.
It took a while to count all the buck's antler points.
"Depending on what looked like a point and what didn't, I came up with 18 or 19," Copley said. "What really amazed me about the rack was how much mass it had. To be perfectly honest, I was in a daze. I was afraid that at any time, somebody was going to slap me and wake me up and ask if I was going hunting today."
The buck's body turned out to be as massive as its antlers. Copley quickly discovered that he couldn't possibly get the carcass out of the woods by himself.
"I went to my mamaw's house and got my brother out of bed. Then I called my mom. She met my brother and me out there, and the three of us managed to get it back to the truck," Copley recalled.
The buck created quite a stir when Copley took it to the game-checking station at nearby Laurel Lake.
"It drew a crowd," he said. "And later, after I took it to my house, people came over there to see it."
The buck's non-typical antlers green-scored at 190 5/8 inches gross, and netted 180 4/8. Even if it loses a little size to shrinkage before it's officially scored, it will still rank as the state's largest non-typical bow kill for the 2013 season.
Despite his young age, Copley is no stranger to bragging-sized bucks. In previous seasons he had killed five that scored 130 inches or better, but none that remotely approached the size of his most recent trophy.
He doesn't know if he'll ever kill another buck as large as that one, but that won't stop him from trying.
"Now the challenge is to try to find a bigger one," he said.