Ashley Mills of Blair first saw the buck with the huge rack of unusual antlers on opening day of deer season in Fairfield County.
“I was sitting on a ridge with about six deer around me, some does, with an 8-point buck chasing them. The does were just eating acorns under the trees in front of me when I heard a sound I had never heard before.”
That sound was a big buck snorting at the 8-point, Mills said.
“I knew it was something big, but I could just see the back of the deer. Every now and then, he would pick up his head and you could see his drop tines, but there was no way to get a shot. But that motivated me to go deer hunting every free minute I had.”
Actually, she had seen the deer the season before — on a trail camera.
“The picture on the trail camera showed him walking away from the camera. You could see those drop tines, but you could not tell how many points there were. He was just a really big deer with pretty unique drop tines.”
On a very cold morning of Nov. 8, Mills was back in the woods, although she was running late and got to her spot just after daylight.
“Some deer were coming out of the pines and headed through the woods. By almost 9 o’clock, I was freezing, and I was ready to go home. I stood up to get the blood moving, then I heard a something coming so I sat back down.”
Several does came through, moving at a brisk walk. They did not stop to eat acorns, so Mills was sure there would be a buck behind them.
“Here came that big deer. He did not stop; he just kept walking. He was less than 50 yards away, so I waited until I got a good open shot. I put the scope on his shoulder and squeezed the trigger.”
The .260 Remington slug from her rifle did the job. When Mills walked up to the deer, she saw it was a very old buck, and he was not in the greatest shape.
“He did not have any front teeth. It was gum on gum. And he had been fighting. He was injured around his left eye. It was swollen like it was infected. This might have been his last year,” she said.
But age had not diminished the unique non-typical rack that could score near the 150-inch range.
The 185-pound buck’s rack had an inside spread of 18 inches and carried 17 points, according to Rick Stone at Stone Brothers Taxidermy in Spartanburg, who rough-scored the rack at 146 inches. There were nine points on the right side and eight on the left side. The right side main beam was 19 1/2 inches long, and the left side main beam was 18 inches.
But it was the abnormal points that make the rack so unique. There are three drop tines, two on the left and one on the right, that measure 6 1/2 inches, 6 inches and 4 1/2 inches. There are also two kickers off the brow tines, one on the right and one on the left.
“He was probably the biggest deer I will see for the rest of my life,” Mills said. “He is so impressive with huge main beams, those unique drop tines and the kicker points. He is a gorgeous deer.”