South Carolina’s youth day gave young deer hunters the opportunity to hit the woods a few days before the official season kicked in on Aug.15 — and 12-year-old Nate Humphrey of Hanahan, SC took full advantage. On Aug. 11, seated beside his dad Michael, the youth hunter pulled the trigger on a full-velvet 8-point in Orangeburg County, SC that weighed in at 176 pounds. 

Michael and Nate traveled that day with Tracy Nelson — a friend of the Humphreys and a member of the hunting club in Bowman where they hunted. They made the hour-long drive in the early afternoon and proceeded to a ladder stand near a cut-down that was overlooking a corn pile backed by woods and flanked by bean fields.  

“Nate and I climbed up in the stand about 6 o’clock that afternoon,” said Michael Humphrey.  “The mosquitos were terrible because of all the rain. We pretty much just sat there, not saying much, and looking around. Nate had the binoculars and at about 7:30 he said, ‘Dad, there’s a deer on the corn pile.’ I told him he was kidding, but he had a big grin on his face. He said, ‘No, it’s a buck.’”

What Michael saw when he looked through the binoculars was a bachelor group of 4 bucks, each being a little bigger than the next. Nate picked out the largest of the crowd and dad slipped on his son’s headphones. With his Remington 700, 7mm-08 leveled, Michael encouraged Nate to wait for the buck — which faced them head-on — to turn broadside, and pull the trigger.   After about a minute, Nate did just that, and his 130-grain Hornady Whitetail Edition bullet sped toward its target about 85 yards away. 

“The buck caught it in the back, a little high,” said Michael Humphrey.  “He went to flopping and going down. I said let’s go down and we can take care of the deer on the ground. Nate said, ‘Dad, I can take care of it from here.’ So, he loaded another round, fired, and put the deer on the ground from the stand. When we went down there, he was still breathing a little bit. Nate put another one in him to send him on his way.”

Shortly after, Michael called Nelson, and they dragged the deer to the truck. The buck was transported to a processor and taxidermist where a mount can be made to hang over Nate’s bed.

“Nate was grinning ear to ear,” said Humphrey, “and he kept laughing at me because I was so excited. I’ll remember that forever.”