Every year, a short list of South Carolina counties produces a band of whopper bucks eligible for the state-record list, and on Oct. 12, Steven Sullivan of Summerville did his part to keep Colleton County in the upper ranks by taking a 10-point, 140-class giant.

Sullivan killed the buck shortly after sunrise on a farm near Williams, but the buck might have eluded Sullivan’s .30-30 if it had taken a different path to an abandoned food plot.

Sullivan was hunting on a friend’s family farm where Quality Deer Management tactics are practiced, with an 8-point minimum and antlers extending beyond the ears being the minimum for bucks. The big buck had showed up on trail cameras around the farm, but no hunters had crossed pass with him before Sullivan, who loves to hunt in the mornings – unlike a few of his other hunting companions.

“Not many of the other guys like to hunt early,” he says. “I love being in the stand in the early.” 

Sullivan was in the stand ready to hunt at 6 a.m., almost an hour before legal shooting time. Within 30 minutes of daylight, the big buck appeared in the clearing in range, but he didn’t shoot right off.

“I watched him for a few minutes before I thought too much about taking a shot. I was in awe, really. It was the biggest buck I had ever seen while hunting,” he said.

Sullivan shoots a classic Winchester Model 94 .30-30 with iron sights. The buck was at 75 yards.

“I was kind of hesitant to shoot that far, but it was no big deal. I had shot deer much further than that with that gun,” he said.

As the buck started to head back to the tree line to safety, he made a short broadside pause, giving Sullivan the perfect opportunity to make his move.

“I put my sights on him and waylaid him,” he said. “The deer only ran 15 yards and fell over just on the edge of the tree line.”

Sullivan’s buck weighed 178 pounds and had an impressive inside spread of 21 inches. But it’s no surprise to see a record-book buck coming out of Colleton County, which ranks fourth in the state in the total number of record-book bucks produced. Through the 2013 scoring session, Colleton County has put 241 deer in the S.C. Deer Records Program since 1974.