Ellis Atkinson takes an annual hunting trip to Texas and has killed her share of bucks, but the one she killed in Lynchburg, S.C. rivals the biggest one she’s killed in the Lone Star State. And it’s definitely the biggest one she’s killed in South Carolina. The buck sported an 8-point rack with a kicker on one brow tine, and an 18-inch inside spread which has been green-scored at 134 2/8.
The 21-year-old senior business major at Francis Marion University in Florence was hunting the private Lee County tract of land owned by one of her friends. She climbed into a ladder stand overlooking a cut corn field around 5 p.m. on Oct. 25, and almost immediately began watching a number of small bucks and does in the field.
The little bucks were going crazy over the does, she said, but she had no interest in shooting any of them. On a previous hunt, she had seen a buck with solid white antlers in this same field, and though she wasn’t sure if it was a shooter, she was hoping to get another look.
Just after 7 p.m., she did get another look at the white-antlered buck, but she was more excited about a different buck that happened to come into view at the same time.
“There was a crew cruising timber to one side of the field, and two bucks came out of those woods at the same time. They weren’t together, but they just happened to step into the field at the same time. They didn’t even acknowledge each other, and they paid no attention to the other deer in the field. Both of them were eating, and kept their heads down almost the entire time,” she said.
Atkinson raised the Weatherby .270, a gun she’s borrowed from a friend many times, and found the buck she wanted to shoot in the scope. It was about 125 yards away, and by now, it was standing very close to the white-antlered buck. She pulled the trigger and watched the deer hit the ground.
But, with daylight dwindling, she began to second-guess her shot, wondering if she’d hit the wrong deer.
“The deer with the white antlers wasn’t the big deer. He wasn’t the one I wanted to shoot, but they were standing real close to each other by then, and it was getting dark, and I thought maybe I’d hit the wrong deer,” said Atkinson.
She anxiously climbed out of the stand, walked to the buck, and happily realized it was the right deer after all.
Atkinson is having a mount made at Carolina Creations Taxidermy in Florence, and is counting down the 60-day drying period to have the buck officially scored.