When Robbie Cortis of Mt. Pleasant first saw the photo of a huge 8-point buck on his trail camera, he knew that buck may make the state record book. The antlers were unusually wide and the rack had plenty of height and mass.
He was right. The buck, shot near Hemingway, tallied 131 B&C points and had an inside spread of 20 1/8 inches. He targeted and shot the buck with a combination of patience and technology.
“I was excited when I saw my first trail camera photo of this buck because it was a great 8-point buck, so I started tracking his pattern using trail cameras,” Cortis said. “The results were intermittent for a while, but finally during the rut, the buck started showing up more often during daylight hours, and a key for me is that he was always with a specific doe that has a big scar on her back, the ‘scarback’ doe I called her.”
Cortis said he checked the cameras frequently, always mid-day with quick and quiet ingress and egress, disturbing the area as little as possible.
“The photos went from intermittent sightings via camera to a strong pattern of the buck being in a specific area and when he was moving,” he said. “The buck was showing up on camera from three o’clock until dark and the scarback doe was always in the picture.”
Cortis said on November 14, he got to the stand early and was confident the big buck was in that area. At 5:10 in the afternoon, nine does entered the soybean field and ‘scarback’ was one of them.
“Seeing that specific doe got me pumped; she’s a direct link to his location,” Cortis said. “Then I heard what had to be two bucks fighting in the dense cover around the bean field. I grunted and then snort-wheezed and at 5:20 two massive bucks walked out abut100 yards away, close to the scarback doe. A quick look made it clear the buck I was targeting was one of them. The other buck was huge but I targeted the wide racked buck I had been seeing and shot him right through the carburetor. He dropped with a perfect heart and lung shot.”
Cortis said this is his largest buck in South Carolina but he’s already following the movements of another even larger than this one.
“Using trail cameras has helped tremendously,” Cortis said. “Scouting is the key to patterning big bucks and this is just using the technology available to enhance scouting. I knew where this big buck was working because of the cameras and had the link to his location via the scarback doe. The deer I’m working on now is at least a 10-point and will likely score in the 150-inch class. So I’ll put in the time and effort and try to be in the right spot at the right time using the trail cameras.”
“Hunting is even more fun having confidence that a huge buck is in the area, even when I don’t get a shot,” Cortis said.
Click here to read about other big South Carolina bucks.