South Carolina’s 2016 antler-scoring sessions have added 217 new record-book bucks, according to Charles Ruth, the deer project leader for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, a big increase over the previous year, with the big stars being a huge typical buck from Anderson County and a huge non-typical from Greenville County.
Ruth said 189 of the bucks measuring during scoring sessions around the state last March were taken either during 2014 or 2015. The 2015 scoring sessions only added 176 bucks to the record book.
Of the bucks measured this year, Ruth said 203 sets of typical antlers and 14 non-typical racks met the minimum sizes for entry into the state’s record book: 125 Boone & Crockett Club points for a typical and 145 for a non-typical.
Ruth said the top typical buck was a 167 5/8-inch trophy taken by David Swaney in Anderson County last December. Swaney’s buck ranks 10th all-time among typical South Carolina bucks. Ranking second and third among typicals were a 156 1/8-inch Chester County buck taken by Van Van Quinn in November 2003 and a 156-inch Saluda County buck taken by Tristan Dubose in October of 2015. The fourth largest typical was a 151 7/8-inch Fairfield County buck taken by Guy Dorman in October 2015. Rounding out the top five was a 149 5/8-inch Greenville County buck taken by Gene Sims in October of 2005.
Netting 167 6/8 points, the top non-typical buck was taken by Jonathan Anders in Greenville County last November, followed by a 166 5/8-inch Orangeburg County buck taken by Rebecca Pelletier in November 2015. Rodney Dooley was next with a 164-inch Lexington County buck taken in September 2015. Edward Finntook a 159 4/8-inch Orangeburg County buck in October 2015, and Joseph Love’s 158 6/8-inch Williamsburg County buck, taken in October 2015, rounded out the top five.
Ruth said Aiken County was the top producer in this year’s scoring sessions, with 21 record-book bucks, followed by Orangeburg County with17, Anderson County with 12, and Darlington and Oconee counties with 10 each.
“As far as all-time leaders at the county level, Orangeburg County remains at the top with 486 sets of antlers on the list,” Ruth said. “Rounding out the top five counties (are) Aiken with 471, Fairfield with 274, Anderson with 264, and Williamsburg with 251.
The antler scoring data also records when these trophy bucks were harvested and is interesting to many hunters. Based on the 2016 scoring data, considering the top 10 typical and top 10 non-typical racks scored, 10 were taken in October, four in November, four in December and two in September.
Ruth said currently 6,782 sets of antlers — 6,517 typical and 265 non-typical — have qualified for the South Carolina antler records list.