Deer season is over, but late reports of deer hunts that took place in 2015 are still trickling in. One of the strangest involves a Greenville County 8-point buck that didn’t seem to realize it was even shot.
When Pelzer’s Randy O’Neal got into the woods on the morning of Nov. 15, he thought briefly of shooting a small buck that walked by since he wanted some meat for the freezer, but he passed. About 10 minutes later, his hunting partner sent him a text telling him a big deer was headed his way, and should show up to his right soon. This is where the day got tricky.
“I was looking hard to my right, hoping to see this big boy, when all of a sudden over to my left, I heard a single grunt. I found myself hunting both sides of my stand, and probably looked a lot like a Bobble Head, waiting to see which deer would come out first,” said O’Neal.
While looking to the right again, O’Neal heard a twig snap to his left. He slowly turned his head and immediately saw a buck stepping out of the woods and walking straight toward him. The deer was only about 40-yards away, and O’Neal was hunting from the ground. He was sure the deer would smell him, but luckily, it didn’t.
The deer began to quarter away from O’Neal, then walked directly in front of him. O’Neal raised his .30-06 when the deer was about 20-yards away, giving the hunter a perfect broadside shot. To O’Neal’s shock, the deer didn’t flinch.
“I was dumbfounded. How in the heck did I miss this deer at literally point-blank range? He stood there for just a moment huffing and puffing. I could see steam coming from his nostrils. Then he looked me dead in the face and charged right at me,” said O’Neal.
Luckily, the deer cut to O’Neal’s left when it was about 8-feet away from him, ran 20-yards, stopped, and turned to face the hunter again.
O’Neal’s rifle is a bolt-action, so it wasn't ready for another shot. He hesitated to chamber another round, thinking his movement might scare the deer into fleeing. He never did determine the best course of action, but he didn’t have to.
“All of a sudden, while standing there looking at me, the deer starts to rock back and forth like an old wooden rocking horse, and then he just drops,” said O’Neal.
O’Neal said it was an amazing hunt, and has given him a unique memory he will carry with him for the rest of his life.