The weather was kind of nasty Oct. 10 – misting rain and blowing wind, the remnants of the storm that wreaked havoc across South Carolina with devastating flooding the weekend before – but Donnie Poplin likes to hunt in rough weather.
“We had all that rain and I saw a lot of deer that week. I harvested a couple of them,” Poplin, a dedicated bow hunter who lives in Great Falls, said. “The wind was blowing about 12 miles per hour that afternoon, but that's when I like to hunt. You can get away with a whole lot when the wind is blowing.”
Poplin, 50, who has hunted deer “since I was five years old,” knew there was a buck with a massive rack on his Fairfield county hunt lease. He had seen him on his trail cameras the year before and when he looked at pictures of the buck this year he knew the buck “was a lot bigger this year.”
Although he knew the big buck was on the property he had leased to hunt, he had no idea the deer was in the area he chose to hunt that afternoon. “I picked that particular stand that afternoon because the wind was right,” he said.
He did know another buck was staying in that area, a buck with a drop tine that Poplin said made him “kind of funny looking.” He had been in the stand for about an hour and 45 minutes when the buck he called “Droopy” because of the odd tine showed up.
“I had already passed Droopy up twice before,” Poplin said. “Then I looked behind him and here comes another deer.”
Poplin's heart rate accelerated. It was the huge buck from his trail cam photos.
“The more I looked at him, the calmer I got,” he said. “I watched him for about five minutes and then he gave me a broadside shot.”
Poplin drew his bow and took the 20-yard shot. The deer bounded off, then fell no more than 30 yards away.
An unofficial score sheet measured the 8-point with a 20 1/4-inch spread at 149 4/8 gross, 146 5/8 net. At an estimated 5 ½ years, the 190-pound buck is expected to hold close to those numbers once an official scoring is done after the required aging period for the antlers.
The main beams measure 22 3/8 and 23 inches, with the circumference at the base of both at 5 1/4 inches. The G2s measured 11 3/4 and 12 1/4 inches and the third points were 8.5 and 7 1/4 inches.
“I've killed some good deer in my life. I killed another good deer this year, but nothing like this one,” Poplin said. “For an 8-point he was exceptional – the trophy of a lifetime.”
Click here to read about other big South Carolina bucks.