Michael Rogers typically is settled into his deer stand well before daybreak, so he wasn't feeling too optimistic about his chances for success on Dec. 5 when he had to drop his granddaughter off at school before hitting the woods.

"I was fussing because I had to take her," Rogers said.

But his pouting quickly turned to shouting – about a record-book buck.

Rogers finally arrived at his ground blind around 7:30; within five minutes he'd squeezed the trigger on the biggest buck of his life.

"I hadn't been in my stand for five minutes when something caught my eye to the right side," Rogers said.

The commotion that demanded Rogers' attention was a big buck chasing a doe across a field.

"He wasn't paying me a bit of attention," Rogers said. "And there was nothing between me and the deer but fescue."

Rogers, who was hunting near his Fair Play home in rural Oconee County, only had to watch for a matter of seconds before getting his opportunity. When the buck turned broadside and the doe stopped, Rogers squeezed off a 225-yard shot from his .300 Winchester magnum.

He thought he'd made a good shot, but his heart sank when the buck didn't flinch.

"I thought I'd missed him," Rogers said.

The buck turned and ran but hit the ground within seconds.

The 52-year-old Rogers felt weak in the knees, too.

"I had to stand there for a minute and just get a grasp on what had happened," he said. "I've been hunting long enough that deer don't shake me up, but this one did. I had to get myself together."

When Rogers strolled up on his kill, he had to calm himself again.

"It just kept getting bigger and bigger," Rogers said.

"The bases of the antlers had tremendous mass, with each main beam being 8 3/8ths inches around, or roughly as big around as an average 12-ounce soda can."

The 11-point rack had an outside spread of 22 inches, and the majority of the tines measured in the 9- to 10-inch range.

The antlers were green-scored at 164 and netted 153 and 4/8ths Boone and Crockett points, which would make it the fourth-best hunter-killed buck ever in Oconee County and place it in the Top 100 all-time in the state record book.

There are six points on one side and five on the other, so the lack of a matching tine will deduct from the antlers' final official score, which won't become official until a mandatory 60-day drying period is complete.

But Rogers – who already has two bucks in the state record book – couldn't be happier with his latest trophy.

"I'm tickled to get it – I don't care what it's got on one side," he said.

The buck was aged at just 4½ years, and a wildlife biologist joked that the rack might've been even better had Rogers passed the buck up for another year or two.

"Yeah, and I never would have seen that buck next year or the year after," Rogers said.

Heck, Rogers admits that he might not have seen the buck had he not had to take his granddaughter to school on that fateful morning.

"I have to give her all the credit," Rogers said. "I got lucky, I guess, but I've been hunting all my life, since I was 11 or 12 years old, so I'll take it."