On the cold morning of Dec. 29, Easley hunter Bryan Crocker ended a six-year pursuit, finally killing a big buck he and his hunting pals had nicknamed “Chippewa” in eastern Greenville County S.C.
“I have been hunting for 16 years and have been hunting this deer for the last six on our club,” Crocker said. “We had lots of photos of this deer over the years but nobody has ever seen this deer in person until yesterday after I gave him a parking ticket with my Browning .30-06.”
Crocker and the other members of his club manage their 360 acres in an effort to grow bucks to maturity. According to Crocker, they routinely take record book bucks on their property and it’s all due to passing up young deer every chance they get.
“The Legend of Chippewa” as Crocker calls it, is a buck that avoided the hunters in every way possible for the past six years, despite their efforts and trail camera photos. With four days left in the Palmetto State’s 2017 deer hunting season, Crocker knew several does were still un-bred, and he figured this would be a good chance at tagging Chippewa before it was time to put away his rifle.
Crocker carefully chose his stand location. The weatherman was calling for cold and light wind conditions that would be perfect for a stand in a strip of hardwoods.
“There is a stretch of hardwoods that is perfect to hunt during calm winds and during the late part of the season,” he said.
The next morning was cold and windless, just as the forecast had predicted. Crocker quietly started up his Summit climbing tree stand in hopes he could reach the top before sunrise. But, before his climb was complete, he started seeing the outlines of deer moving across his field of view.
Finally, Crocker got to the top and pulled up his hunting bag. But during the process, numerous deer walked past from several directions.
“I knew it was going to be a good day after all that activity before daylight,” he said.
After he got settled, a doe showed up with another familiar deer he had nicknamed “No Brows.” But, before he could pull up and shoot, another buck started blowing over his left shoulder. It was bigger than No Brows. Crocker turned around in his stand to try to get a shot at the bigger buck, but the deer disappeared before he could get into position. Then everything went downhill.
No Brows had also disappeared by now, bringing a familiar feeling to the Easley hunter. Almost the exact thing happened to Crocker last year while sitting in the same stand.
“I was trying to figure out how I was going to explain to my friends how this happened again!” He said.
They were all gone and the woods went silent. Deflated and down, Crocker shook his rattle bag and blew his grunt call a few times.
“I looked up a few minutes after I grunted and Chippewa shows up at 100 yards away. When I saw his tine length on one side, I knew it was him,” he exclaimed. “I pulled the trigger and he took a dirt nap.”
With nine total points and bases over five inches in circumference, his buck grossed 135 inches and is expected to retain record book status after the drying period with a score over the minimum of 125 inches.