On Nov. 15, Taylor Baumgarner of Easley killed a 140-inch, 8-point buck in Pickens County that he’d been pursuing for some time after first catching photos of the deer on trail cameras over two years ago.
“I first got pictures of this deer two years ago as a 2-year old and at that time, he was only a 7-point, but you could tell he had good potential. During the 2015 season, I hunted him hard even though he was still less than fully mature, because he was right at the 125-inch mark and had gone to a very symmetrical 8 point,” he said.
Finally, last November, Baumgarner saw the buck in range. But, a problem prevented him from pulling the trigger.
“It was a foggy morning and the moment finally came, and he stepped out of the woods. I had him at 80 yards for about 5 minutes, and he was just across the property line. I didn’t have permission to hunt on the neighbor’s land,” he said.
As he waiting for the deer to make his way onto his own hunting grounds, Baumgarner thought things were going to work out for him. He found out quickly that it wasn’t his day.
“He started to walk along the field edge and walked right into my wind. I could tell he caught my wind and he slowly disappeared back into the timber. I grunted and tried to coax him to step back out, but I knew that it was pretty much useless since he had caught my scent. After countless hours spent in the stand, he was finally right in front of me, and there was nothing I could do,” he said.
That was the last time Baumgarner saw the deer in 2015, but he was happy to see it on trail cameras again this season. Unfortunately, all the photos showed the buck was moving only at night. Until Nov. 14.
“I pulled the card on the trail camera, and saw he had finally started moving during daylight. I had a good wind to hunt the next morning, so I slipped in before daylight and saw plenty of deer early in the hunt, but no sign of him,” said Baumgarner, who continued to wait, hoping for a shot at the buck that had eluded him for so long.
Around 9:15 a.m., a handful of deer stepped out of the woods into Baumgarner's sight, but the big 8-pointer wasn’t one of them. He watched those deer for a few moments, then gazed to the east. There stood the buck, alone.
“He started running through the field from left to right seemingly to just be cruising for does. I got (my gun) on him and yelled at him to stop, and when he stopped, I pulled the trigger and he dropped right in his tracks at about 170 yards,” he said.
After pursuing that buck for so long, Baumgarner said he was in shock, and could hardly believe what had just happened. And he was suddenly glad that last year’s hunt did not work out in his favor.
“As a result of him being on the wrong side of the property line last year, he was able to live another year and grow around 15 more inches. I love to hunt, and was blessed by the Lord to let me kill a deer of this caliber in South Carolina,” he said.