On Jan. 1, the final day of deer season, Jeffrey Cape of Pelzer finally got to meet his nemesis face to face, but not quite the way he had hoped to. Cape was nearly three-quarters of the way up the tree to his stand when he heard a commotion 10 yards away. A heavy-horned, palmate 12-pointer jumped up practically right under his stand and started trotting away in the overgrown cutover.
“I thought he was a small buck until I saw the palmation and then, I knew it was him,” Cape said.
Since September, Cape had hundreds of trail-camera photos of the buck all over his hunting property in Greenville County. Cape and his girlfriend, Kacilee Pittman, hoped to see the buck every time they went to the stand this season.
“We never got on him real hard. I really wanted Kacilee to kill him, but I got lucky on the last day when he decided to bed down under my tree stand,” said Cape, who was climbing the screw-in steps to his lock-on stand on Jan. 1 when the buck made his appearance.
There wasn’t much to hold on to except the tree and a tree step, but the buck was steadily trotting away, and he knew it was his last chance.
“I propped my gun on the side of the tree and finally pulled the trigger on him at 150 yards out,” he said.
The buck bolted away but tumbled to the ground before it got out of sight.
“He didn’t run far,” said Cape, who said the arrival of cooler weather in the last day or two of the season got things going.
“It was the first couple of days when we finally got some cool weather,” he said.
A late start on that New Year’s Day was a blessing in disguise. If Cape had arrived before daylight as he normally would have, an unknown, mystery deer scrambling off into the darkness would be his story for the day. Instead, he ended his season on top of the world with his biggest buck to date.
Cape’s buck measured out at 146 ¼ inches gross, with a 19-inch outside spread and an unbelievable 9-inch circumference at the base of the antlers. It was a huge buck that happened to be in the right place at the right time. Cape will forever remember the last day of the 2015-2016 deer season with a huge, heavy-horned beast he shot down while dangling off the side of his tree.
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