Matt Atkinson popped an 11-pointer on Sept. 8 after just recently joining a hunting club near his Aiken County home. And what a buck it was! Atkinson’s buck boasted several 11-inch tines with bases over six inches in circumference, and is expected to score upwards of 140 inches.
But, this buck almost didn’t make it into Atkinson’s reach after several hunters on an adjoining property cracked off several shots at him in the middle of a soybean field at long range on the opening week of the season.
“I was getting photos of this deer regularly until the hunters shot at him,” Atkinson said. “He vanished from my trail cameras and I was sick to my stomach. I just started hunting this club and I found this deer within a few short weeks after I put out cameras.”
After querying other club members on the locations of their stands, Atkinson picked out a spot for his own stand.
“I like to hunt the perimeter of the property where it bumps up to more woodlands and places that are often overlooked. I picked two spots and one was an old loading deck where the timber was thinned several years ago. On one of the spots, I found a big shed from a real big buck,” he said.
Atkinson placed a Trophy Rock All Natural Mineral Supplement on the loading deck near where he found the shed and he erected a few cameras around the site. Within days, this brute showed up on camera and Atkinson began to get excited. It was not only a good buck, but a true trophy.
“He was stupid big on camera! He looked like he was from Saskatchewan,” he said.
After the neighboring hunters shot at him, the deer vanished from Atkinson’s cameras, but he kept his spirits up and hopeed another good buck would make an appearance.
Then, two weeks later, Atkinson checked his trail camera and saw that the buck was back making regular visits to his Trophy Rock
“He had come to the Trophy Rock four out of the last four afternoons and three of the last four mornings. I rushed home and got prepared for the afternoon hunt. This was my chance,” he said.
Decked out in full camo in 90-degree heat, Atkinson climbed into his 22-foot tall lock-on tree stand on a big pine tree and scanned his shooting lanes.
After 90 minutes passed, he started hearing deer walking around out in front of him and back behind him. He continuously scanned the area, and before long, the buck was standing 60 yards away
“He was looking right at me and I was glad I had on my facemask or I think he would have left,” he said.
Once the deer dropped its head and continued walking down the trail, Atkinson swung around, found the next opening in the deer’s path, and whistled. The buck stopped immediately, and Atkinson fired his Browning 7mm Magnum, hitting the deer in its neck. The buck sprinted out of sight, and Atkinson climbed out of his stand to follow right away.
“I slid down the tree like a cat squirrel,” he said.
Sixty yards down the trail, Atkinson found the 206-pound buck piled up at the base of a sweet gum tree.