Last Saturday morning’s hunt for TC Lloyd of Hartsville was over in a flash as his rifle muzzle lit up the woods well before the sun crept over the horizon, and before many folks were out of bed, Lloyd had his hands on a 143-inch, 14-point Darlington County buck at 6:15 a.m. 

For months, Lloyd checked his trail cameras regularly looking for a trophy buck to show up. Luckily, a few good bucks were using his property routinely and he made sure to carve out enough time in the stand in hopes one would arrive. 

Early on Nov. 12, Lloyd headed down the trail to hunt in his tree stand overlooking a one-acre clearing sandwiched between a thick overgrown cutover and a stand of mature pines. It was dark still, but Lloyd wanted to get in the stand early. The rut was hot and other hunters had been killing deer all over. He knew it was his turn. 

Walking quietly in the darkness, Lloyed heard sticks breaking and bushes rattling around. 

“I got busted going in and I heard deer blowing at me,” Lloyd said. “I thought it was over, but I climbed into my stand anyway.”

As soon as Lloyd got settled, he looked in front of him and could see something at the end of his hunting lane on his corn pile. He pulled up his Leupold binoculars and could see antlers. 

“I could tell it was a buck immediately, but I couldn’t tell how big he was,” Lloyd said. 

Legal shooting time had just arrived, but he didn’t want to shoot until he had a better feel of the deer’s size. Then, something caught his eye right in front of his stand at 15 yards. It was a small doe. The big buck saw her too. 

“He started grunting at her and started trotting right to her. And when he started coming towards her, he was coming at me too,” he said. 

Lloyd watched the buck in his binoculars coming his way. And when the buck got around 40 yards from his stand, he recognized this was not just any buck. It was a huge buck.

“Horns on that deer lit up when he got close. He was definitely a shooter,” he said.  

Lloyd raised his rifle and pinpointed the buck right in the middle of his 56 mm Trijicon Accupoint scope. After only being in the stand a few minutes, Lloyed pulled the trigger, putting the buck on the ground. 

Lloyd was thankful for that small doe, which he said showed up at the perfect time. 

“If it wasn’t for that doe, I probably wouldn’t have killed him. He would have gone back in the woods before I had a shot,” he said.