When a massive 10 pointer showed up on Andrew Fowler’s trail camera on Sept. 9, he saw a big opportunity. Fowler has killed many big out-of-state bucks that are represented all over his house, but never has Fowler taken a buck of this caliber near his Enoree, S.C. home. Thankfully, Mother Nature brought a wave of unseasonably cool weather to his Spartanburg County 18-acre tract, which helped bring the massive 140-inch buck into range.
“As soon as he showed up on camera, I knew he was a good deer,” Fowler said. “But, I wasn’t sure he was that big until I got him on the ground.”
Fowler hunted as often as possible in hopes of getting this buck in his sights. Through archery season and into rifle season, he saw the deer two times, both during cold fronts. But he did not have a clear shot either time.
After a week of unseasonably hot weather, a cold front from Canada finally penetrated into the South bringing a wave of chilly temperatures. Fowler knew it was going to be a good morning when he saw the forecasted lows were going to be just above freezing.
On Friday, Oct. 20, Fowler woke up long before daylight and headed to his stand. It was 38 degrees. He was hunting along a hardwood ridge bordering a river. There were fresh scrapes and rubs all over the place. He expected lot of deer movement, and hoped to see his trophy.
Fowler got situated in his climbing tree stand as the morning glow began to illuminate the horizon. Then, he heard the silent morning interrupted by a deer grunting down near the river bottom, followed by water splashing. He looked up and saw six does crossing the river. His big 10-pointer was right behind them. But, the does weren’t quite in the mood for his early morning advances and they all took off into a full sprint.
“He came across me at what seemed like 100 mph and then he disappeared,” he said.
It got quiet again, but, not for long. Minutes later, the buck started grunting again and was running across the river bottom just out of Fowler’s sight. Fowler climbed down 10 feet from his 20-foot perch with his climber so he could see further across the hardwood ridge. The leaves were still on the trees and he couldn’t see as far as he wanted to.
A few minutes later, he heard grunting again and a 110-class eight pointer came by after being run off by the big 10 pointer. Then, it got quiet again. Fowler didn’t hear anything for a while, and decided to try something that would entice the big buck to come by.
“I grunted and rolled the bleat can over and almost exactly seven minutes later, he came up the logging road like he was on a string,” he said.
At 8:06 a.m., Fowler raised his gun and fired his Remington 7mm Magnum, dropping the deer in his tracks at 37 yards.
“I think he was coming up the hill to whip that other buck again. He probably thought that buck had found another slick head up there and was coming to investigate,” he said. “It’s the biggest buck of my life and a true South Carolina trophy.”
Fowler rough-scored the buck and came up with a preliminary gross score of 142 inches with an 18-inch inside spread, and several tines over 10 inches in length.