For many hunters, deer season starts way before opening day, and it’s not uncommon for them to have one particular buck on their mind long before it’s time to don their camouflage. Such was the case for Spartanburg County hunter Travis Haynie, who began an obsession with a 9-pointer he started seeing in late May after getting permission to hunt a 40-acre tract of land.

His only sightings of the deer though, were on trail cameras, and even though he was getting photos of plenty of other quality deer too, he realized the property he was hunting was covered in dense weeds, and did not have a central location for deer to feed. He set out to change that by clearing a small area for a food plot on the edge of an overgrown field.

Haynie’s food plot grew quickly, and attracted plenty of deer. He watched his trial cameras closely, and continued seeing the 9-pointer, but by the time bowhunting season began, he had a problem. 

“The food plot was growing great and attracting deer almost immediately, but unfortunately most of the big bucks started turning nocturnal. As hunting season kicked off, I was seeing ten to fifteen deer in each afternoon hunt, but my big 9-pointer was no where to be seen,” Haynie said.

Haynie passed on buck after buck all the way through bow season and into the rifle season, when he decided to shoot a big doe to put some venison in the freezer. He settled back into hunting the 9-pointer, and when he headed to the woods on Nov. 28, his luck changed.

After getting settled into his climbing stand in the afternoon, Haynie heard a lot of talking on neighboring property, so he decided to leave that spot and headed to his Loc-On stand which he’d hung earlier and had been hunting throughout the season. 

The wind shifted unfavorably not long after he got in the Loc-On stand, but Haynie decided to stay put, and a little after 5 pm, he heard a deer walking through the hardwoods and heading toward his food plot.

“I was waiting to get a glance of the deer, expecting it to be one of the many does that show up early each night, when suddenly, I noticed a large set of antlers come into the food plot 70-yards away. Instantly, I knew it was my big 9-pointer,” said Haynie, who reached for his rifle.

“I reached for my Browning .300 Win Mag off the hanger and tried to settle the crosshairs behind his shoulder, but when I tried to squeeze off the shot, I knew I was shaking too much,” he said.

Haynie paused and took a deep breath, and focused on his task. The buck turned broadside, offering Haynie a shot that he took, sending a Nosler 190-grain Accubond round behind the shoulders. The 223-pound buck dropped in its tracks.

Luckily, Haynie noticed no ground shrinkage at all, and neither did Hugh Bryant at Antler Creation Taxidermy, who gross green-scored the buck at 141-inches. 

Click here to read about other big South Carolina bucks.

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