Monsoon-style rain didn’t discourage Ricky Martin of Conway on Aug. 16, the second day of archery deer season in Horry County. His perseverance paid off when he arrowed a 131-inch, main-frame 8-point buck in the Little Pee Dee River swamp.
Completely soaked, Martin stayed in his tree stand for hours before he finally got the opportunity for a clean shot at the great buck, obviously raising the bar for the rest of his deer-hunting career.
Martin counted on the heavy-horned buck – which had been making tracks all over his hunting area – making an appearance before nightfall. The day before, the buck had showed up a few yards out of range, meandering through the hardwood bottom without giving Martin a clean shot.
In his stand for three hours the second day of the season, Martin had the weather play right into his hands. The rain stopped an hour before dark, and he figured the buck would want to get up and dry off after the lengthy storm.
Martin’s plan could not have worked out any better. Fifteen minutes after the rain stopped, the deer materialized in front of him, standing in a puddle at 15 yards, standing motionless.
“Rain was dripping off leaves everywhere, and the buck seemed to be a little weary. He didn’t move a muscle for five whole minutes,” Martin said. “But then, the buck started walking away, and I knew it was time to make my move.”
Martin drew and released his arrow, which was equipped with a two-bladed Rage broadhead, just before the buck left his comfortable killing range. At 30 yards, the fatal shot met its mark; the buck travelled only 75 yards before falling.
“It’s the biggest buck I have ever killed with any weapon, and I just started bowhunting last season,” Martin said. “This was the fourth deer I had ever killed with the bow, but it will definitely not be the last.”
The buck’s rack carried impressive tines, with the longest pair measuring 11 ½ inches and the next pair measuring 9 ½ inches. At 707 Deer Processing in Socastee, the buck weighed in at 175 pounds. Stewart Johnston’s Wildlife Creations Taxidermy studio in Conway is mounting the buck.