Marty Coward of Johnsonville, SC killed two trophy bucks within four days last month, and even though he’s not fond of talking rack scores before the official drying period has passed, it looks like they’ll both qualify for the South Carolina state record book.
And while many hunters may consider Coward to be lucky for this feat, he’s proud to say it’s anything but luck. He and his brother have been practicing quality management for years on their adjoining Williamsburg County properties.
“We’ve been letting both of the ones I killed walk over the past few years while observing them on our trail cameras,” said Coward, who said a combination of food plots and supplemental corn has been keeping the deer on his 90-acre tract well-fed and able to grow with relatively little pressure on them.
On the evening of Sept. 21, Coward decided to head to one of his Quad Pod deer stands overlooking a shooting lane after trail camera scouting showed the heavy-bodied, 8-point buck with a wide spread was coming in just before dark. At 7:45 p.m., under the cover of camouflage and Tink’s cover scent, he took the buck with an 85-yard shot from his Remington 700 .308 as it walked into range with two smaller bucks.
The buck weighed 199 pounds and had an inside spread of 21 inches.
Coward took to the woods again on the following Monday, Sept. 24 to sit in his second stand, which sits about 300 yards from his other one. This was a morning hunt, and he saw another one of the bucks he’s observed for some time. It waltzed into Coward’s field of view around 7:15 a.m. about 85 yards away.
Before Coward could get his gun up, the buck began chasing some does, but after just a minute or two, the does disappeared and the buck moved back into the shooting lane even closer than before. Coward shot the deer at 40 yards. The 8-pointer has a slightly smaller rack, but he’s confident it will squeak into the record book as well.
“The way our property is, and the way we have our food plots and shooting lanes situated, when a deer shows up, it’s not going to take anything more than a 100-yard shot. And if you see a deer that my brother or I kill, it’s going to be one that’s worth mounting. We don’t shoot small bucks. If we just want a little meat for the freezer, we’ll shoot a doe, but we’d rather manage the bucks for quality,” he said.