Ebbie Hodges, the owner of Quack Em Back Game Calls in Effingham, got caught off guard in a big way on Nov. 10 when a monster 10-point buck with a 24 3/4-inch spread crashed into his parked 4- wheeler only 15 feet from his tree stand in Florence County.

Hodges was lucky enough to be in his stand at the time, and he was even luckier to keep his composure long enough to take a quick shot at the buck as it fled its encounter with the ATV. The shot put down the buck, which has been measured at 153 3/4 inches, and he administered the coup de grace a few moments later.

Hodges had left a busted bottle of Tink's No. 69 Doe-in-Rut gel in the rear rack of his 4-wheeler a week earlier. The scent, slathered all over the basket, upset the buck enough that it trotted up and slammed into the vehicle at about 4:55 p.m.

 

"It scared me so much, I dropped my binoculars," Hodges said.

 

That brought the buck back to its senses, and it wheeled to run off.

 

Hodges hollered at the deer to try and get him to stop, then threw up his Browning .300 Magnum, but not before realizing the scope covers on his Meopta Meostar were still in place.

 

"I threw off the scope covers, kept both eyes open and took a shot," he said.

 

The shot took the buck through one of its hams, dropping it. As it tried to crawl to the wood line, Hodges put two more rounds in the buck's vitals, ending the bizarre encounter.

 

"It was a fluke," said Hodges, who rough-scored the deer – which weighed only 161 pounds -- at 153 ¾ inches. "Everything you have been taught about deer hunting went out the window and then, the deer just did something crazy."

 

Hodges was hunting that day only because a friend, Ricky Reynolds, persuaded him to get in the woods. For a week, Hodges and his wife had been dealing with the serious medical condition of a relative, and hunting was the last thing on his mind. But at the last minute, he took Reynolds' advise and headed to the woods.

 

"I didn't take a shower, change into scent free clothes, or spray down with anything," said Hodges, who had also just spit tobacco juice out of the stand minutes before the buck showed up.

 

That proves that a big buck in the rut, with hormones flowing out of control, might do some of the most unimaginable things.