Early Sunday morning, just after daylight broke, John Cherry of Conway looked down his fire lane and saw a big buck he and his son had been after for more than three years. With hundreds of trail camera photos of this deer and sleepless nights trying to figure out how to get this deer in his sights, Cherry had just a few moments to decide what to do. He didn’t waste any time, pulling the trigger of his .30-06 rifle and dropping the buck in his tracks. 

The big buck was worth the wait. It weighed 185 pounds, with a 19-inch inside spread, 24 ½-inch main beams and a gross score of 141 4/8 inches. 

But things could have turned out much differently for Cherry, who saw a 3-pointer and a doe walk out to his corn pile, barely able to see them through his Nikon scope because of the misting rain. After the small buck left, the doe grew nervous, and moments later, the big 9-point buck stepped out and took a few steps in Cherry’s direction, giving him just enough time to aim and shoot.

“If the deer would have come 10 minutes earlier, I would have never been able to see the deer,” Cherry said.

Cherry and his son, Matt, have been watching this deer for years. According to Matt, the deer hasn’t grown very much over the last two years.

“He has been the same size for two years, but did grow an extra brow tine this year, making him a 9- point,” Matt Cherry said. “He was an old deer. We think he was around 7 ½ years old, because he hardly even had a tooth in his mouth.”

The Cherrys hunt a 500-acre tract in Georgetown County, but they shoot only mature bucks and only a few per year at that. And their neighbors try to let the smaller bucks go when they can to grow a more mature herd. 

“We try to manage our bucks and look to the future as much as we can. My dad’s buck may not be as high-scoring as some of the bucks that come out of the state, (but) it is the biggest one he has ever killed and is a real fine buck,” Matt Cherry said.

–Read about another big Georgetown County buck taken this year by clicking here.