Mack Martin hunts a small piece of property in Laurens, S.C., but he knew the tract held a big deer when he got several trail camera photos of the trophy during the 2016 season. Ever since then, he was determined to kill the 10-point buck, and he finally did it on Oct. 1 when the buck showed up on a morning hunt.
“I first saw the deer on my trail camera last season, and I saw him once while hunting, but didn’t have a good shot at it. I wanted to prove that you can kill a good, quality deer on 9 acres in South Carolina,” said the Clinton, S.C. hunter.
Martin was certainly correct. The buck has been green-scored at 136 1/8 inches, and it weighed just over 214 pounds. Martin estimated the deer to be 6 1/2-years-old.
Martin was careful to leave his small piece of land relatively untouched until he felt pretty good about his chances at getting a shot at this deer. He had a trail camera out, but checked it very sparingly. And anytime he checked the camera, he took great care to spray scent control all over him, and was careful not to touch anything that he didn’t need to.
Martin decided his best option was to hunt this buck with a muzzleloader, so on the first day of muzzleloader season in his game zone, he took to the woods with his Thompson Center with iron sights.
“Around 8:30 a.m., I saw a little movement about 200 yards away. When I looked closer, all I could see was a rack. The deer looked around, then walked away and out of sight,” he said.
But Martin didn’t have time to get discouraged.
“Five minutes later, he reappeared and stopped walking when it was 150 yards away. I wasn’t sure if it was going to keep coming and I wondered if it would come in range. I was sitting on the ground against an oak tree. The deer stood there looking all around, even up in the trees. Then it made a scrape and shook its body like I’ve never seen a deer shake. It was really something to see,” he said.
Then, the deer began walking again, moving Martin’s way.
“It got closer and closer, and my heart was beating so fast. I thought the deer would hear it,” he said.
The deer closed to within 65 yards, then it walked behind a big oak tree.
“I raised my muzzleloader and waited for it to walk out from behind the tree. It stood still forever behind that oak. All I could do was wait. Finally, it walked out,” he said.
Martin pulled the trigger, hitting the deer in its shoulder. The buck immediately ran back in the direction it had come from, crashing to the ground.
The buck had been shot before. Martin found an old muzzleloader bullet in the deer’s shoulder, which grew back somewhat deformed. It’s the biggest buck he’s ever killed, and he is having the memory of the old deer commemorated with a mount from Jordan Holsonback at Outdoor Sportsman Taxidermy in Clinton, S.C.