Dixon Krall is 14. He's been hunting for about seven years, and he'll likely hunt for dozens more.

But it may be all downhill from here, because the buck he killed in Williamsburg County on Sept. 2 may be about as good as it gets.

"We've seen some deer around here with bigger racks, but nothing that weighed that much," he admitted.

"That much" was 233 pounds, and that's what the bruiser that Krall killed weighed a few hours after he plunked him on the edge of a soybean field about 15 minutes before dark on the second day of gun season in his area.

The deer isn't just big; for the Lowcountry, it's enormous. When Krall first saw it, one of the things that struck him was that it was so big, its stomach stuck out on either side of its shoulders.

The 9-point buck carried a 15-inch inside spread, and despite being killed on Labor Day weekend, it had already polished all of the velvet off its heavy rack.

It was hanging around with another buck, a 7-pointer, when Krall, a freshman at Wando High School in Charleston, whopped it with a single shot from his Ruger .270, the 130-grain Remington bullet taking the buck through the front shoulders. It ran about 25 yards before piling up, just outside the field it had entered to feed.

Krall was hunting the field because his father, Tom Hildebrand, had a hunch that a lot of the deer on the 5,000-acre Black River Hunt Club property would be working on the ripening soybeans. Some of the corn feeders and corn piles had been visited, but Hildrebrand felt like agricultural crops would be the big draw.

"The day before, we were riding around, looking," said Hildebrand. "There was a lot of sign, but the big thing was the soybeans. I was thinking that the soybeans would draw them in. When there's agricultural crops around, that's where they usually go - even when you've got corn out. And this stand was one that I'd sat before and always seen deer."

Dixon was sitting in a tripod on a little neck of cover sticking out into a beanfield that Hildebrand estimated at about 100 acres. There was no morning hunt, in fact, the early-afternoon dove hunt hadn't been over long when Krall got into his stand.

"I dropped his two brothers, Bradley and Thomas, off at their stands, and I dropped Dixon off last," Hildebrand said.

"I got up in my stand about 6:30, and I saw a few does first; they just kind of wandered around in the field, then two cowhorns came out at the edge of the field," Krall said. "I'd been in my stand about 45 minutes when two other deer came out at the far edge of the field - a 7-pointer and a 9-pointer. They came out of the big woods into the field.

"The 7-pointer was a big deer, but I could tell the 9-pointer was bigger and heavier - horns and body," he said. "He was facing me when he came out, and his gut was hanging out on both sides of his body."

Krall let the bigger buck turn broadside, then let him have it.

"I didn't let him get out of the woods very far," he said. "When I shot, I saw him jump up and kick, then he turned and ran back in the woods. I didn't see him fall, but he didn't go back in the woods very far."

Krall, who had killed two bucks and three does in about a half-dozen years of hunting, said he waited 15 minutes, then climbed down from his stand, made it around the corner of the field to where the buck had disappeared, and found him quickly, about 20 feet back off the field's edge.

"He came back, and he told me, 'I shot a monster! He's over there!'" Hildebrand said. "I drove the truck back and parked it about a half-mile away, and we rode in on the 4-wheeler.

Krall said he directed his father to the buck, then ran to get there first. When Hildebrand arrived, Krall said, "He just stood there and stared at him for a few seconds, then he said something like, 'Oh, my gosh,' and we started giving each other high fives."

The buck was unknown to the handful of deer hunters in the club.

"Nobody had ever seen this buck before, but that isn't a surprise. We have 16 members in the club, and most never deer hunt," Hildebrand said. "Most of them duck hunt; there are only five or six that deer hunt regularly. We've got 40 stands up, and some of them never get sat in."

Hildebrand got the buck out of the woods and took it to a place in Kingstree, where it weighed 223 pounds. The buck carried a typical 5x4 rack, with five points on the right antler. The body was massive, with an enormous neck, shoulders and paunch.

The next day, Hildebrand slipped back out to the field and parked the 4-wheeler where the buck had been standing when Krall shot. He then walked to the stand and climbed the tripod with his rangefinder. The verdict: 207 yards.

So if Krall's chances of killing a bigger buck aren't great, his chances of making a better shot aren't, either.

And that shouldn't bother him at all.