Like many deer hunters, Jason Hart of Ridgeville was in a tree stand at dusk on Aug. 15, Opening Day in the Lowcountry. Unlike many of them, his season started with a bang, literally.

Hart took a 10-point buck estimated to be in the 135-inch class at 7:45 p.m., an hour after he began his watch over a peanut field in Colleton County.

"I grew up in South Carolina and have been hunting Opening Day since I was 9 years old," Hart said. "And it's taken me 26 years to see a velvet buck in my scope like the one I killed … this year."

Hart, an account manager with Mossy Oak camouflage, found himself with two weeks off at the beginning of deer season and took advantage of it, even if the temperature was 90-plus in the shade. But he wasn't quite expecting that kind of success.

"I moved back to South Carolina earlier this year, and my first priority was to find hunting land," Hart said. "I searched … a bunch of places looking for lease openings. I ended up joining four different hunting clubs, but because of work, I wasn't able to scout, hang cameras or do any of the stuff I normally like to do in the preseason. So going into it, I basically chalked this season up to learning the land and hopefully putting a couple does in the freezer."