"She kept after me to go have it scored," Elrod said. "It didn't make a difference to me, because it's pretty on the wall. But I finally decided to go ahead and get it done."
Elrod's buck, which he killed in Pickens County in 2008, finally had tape put to tines during antler-scoring sessions conducted by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources this past March. The result was a Boone and Crockett score of 169 2/8ths, tying the rack for fifth place on the state's all-time typical list.
"I was kind of surprised," said Elrod, a 56-year-old from Six Mile in rural Pickens County.
Elrod's 12-point buck just missed the 170-point minimum score necessary for Boone and Crockett's all-time book, but it did qualify for the B&C Three-Year Awards Period List - one of two sets of antlers scored last March to earn such status.
The other was a non-typical rack found by Jennifer Mixson and Allen Mole in Berkeley County in 2010; it netted 187 7/8ths points, making it the new No. 4 on South Carolina's all-time non-typical list.
Those two bucks were among 257 out of 601 scored that met the minimum score for record-book entry during the recent scoring sessions.
"I can't say for sure if those numbers are the highest ever, but I can certainly say that they're the highest since I've been here," said Charles Ruth, who is in his 18th year as SCDNR's deer program coordinator.
It was a particularly good year for Upstate counties, which traditionally aren't regarded as deer-hunting havens. Six of the top eight bucks scored in March were killed in the Upstate, including two each from Greenville and Anderson counties.
Elrod's buck also gave Pickens County, most of which is rugged, mountainous terrain, two of the top five typical bucks in South Carolina history.
Racks must score a minimum of 125 points for inclusion on the state's all-time typical list or 145 points to qualify for the non-typical listing.
Aiken County led the state with 23 record-book entries in 2012. Aiken was followed by Orangeburg with 19, Anderson with 14, Kershaw with 11 and with 10.
"Our antler records program has been really good the last four or five years, but at the same time, everybody's talking about not having as many deer, due to habitat changes or coyotes and other factors," Ruth said. "Fewer deer means better deer. You've only got one pie - the smaller the pieces you've got to cut it into, the less you're going to get out of it."