Charter captain Chip Veach of Key West, Fla., has hunted all over for trophy bucks over the past decade or so, including multiple trips to Montana and Canada.
The last place he expected to kill the biggest buck of his life was on a lease in Bamberg County, S.C., but that’s just where it happened.
On Aug. 23, Veach dropped a huge, 11-point buck with a single shot to the neck at 75 yards. The buck weighed 242 pounds and carried a heavy rack in full velvet with 7-inch bases and a 21 3/8-inch spread.
“There was definitely no ground shrinkage,” Veach said. “I’m very conservative, and I thought he was about 135 to 140 in the (trail-camera) photos we had of him.
“When I walked up to him, I said to myself, ‘That’s a big deer.’ It seemed like he got bigger on the ground. I go to Montana and Canada every year, and I’ve never killed one there this big. My biggest was a 153-inch buck from Montana.”
Veach took the buck, in part because he was able to adjust to changing weather conditions, and because of a trail camera.
“We all had photos of him in 2016, and we all let him walk — at least three of us,” Veach said. “He looked like a 3 1/2-year-old deer, but he had shorter tines. I didn’t figure he’d ever be anything real good.
“Then nobody saw him in 2017, no photos, nothing. I don’t know where he went last year, but I’m glad he did. We figured somebody else had killed him.”
Veach got his first look at the buck on Aug. 19, in a photo from a trail camera set up close to what he called “a bow stand.”
“Now, I’ve got to scramble, because I don’t bowhunt, and it was a daylight picture, and he was a monster,” Veach said. “I didn’t recognize him right away, but I showed a buddy, and he sent me a picture he had of him from 2016, and you could tell it was the same deer. His beams had the same curve.
“The third day after I got the first photo, I set up a stand for a north wind and sat. I saw a big-bodied deer come through at 8:40, but it was too late to shoot and I couldn’t see him very well. The next day, I checked my camera at 1:30, and I had him at 8:44. He was the big deer that had walked past, but I couldn’t hunt the same stand, because the wind had changed. I ran and grabbed a ladder stand I had about 5 miles away, and I put it up at 2:30, cut a few limbs and got out of there.
“I got in the stand at 5:30, and I’d seen a couple of fawns with no spots and no momma, but about 7:30, I threw my binoculars up and was scanning the woods and BAM! He’s standing there, not looking at me.”
Veach had to pick a narrow lane through the trees to shoot the buck, leaning out of his stand so he could thread the needle with his .270 Browning A-Bolt from 75 yards.
A shot through the neck put the buck down immediately and for good.
Veach’s buck carried a heavy rack with a 4x5 frame, with a sticker point on each beam. The buck had bases that were 7 1/8 and 7 1/4 inches in circumference, and the beams were 23 and 25 inches.
“I felt good, pretty good, that I could set the stand up and kill him the same afternoon,” he said. “A big deer like that, he ain’t no joke.”