Progressing from a beginning hunter to the buck of a lifetime in just two years, Nick Christ has proven techniques and a little bit of luck to thank for the headlines he's getting for a huge Beaufort County buck he killed earlier this season.

Christ, who hails from James Island, was in a deer stand for the first time in the 2007 season and only the 12th time ever when he took a whitetail that will be among the state's best this season.

Having spent his entire life in the Charleston area, hunting became a favored recreational activity for Christ only through his friend, Rob Harding, the owner/operator of www.charlestondiving.com, who traded a prized catch of speared grouper for a 500-acre deer lease 20 miles south of Charleston in Beaufort County.

Harding, a seasoned and experienced hunter, and Christ set up various deer stands around the property, which was was covered with buck sign and was void of any previous hunting pressure.

The land is covered in mature, acorn-rich oaks and is next to a larger tract with expansive fields of corn and soybeans.

"Deer are fed well, with no hunting pressure on the tract as well as the surrounding tracts," Christ said.

The first week of November, Harding noticed an abundance of buck sign, and with a cold front moving in later in the week, he decided a weekend hunt would provide a good opportunity to harvest a nice buck.

The night of Friday, Nov. 2, was cold, but seasonable. Harding and Christ knew deer would be moving good the next morning.

Christ slipped along the edge of a fallow field to a tripod stand just as it was breaking light on Nov. 3. The field was covered in broomstraw, and the stand was set up overlooking a stand of hardwoods bordering the field and a corn pile several yards away.

"The morning walk to the stand was real quiet, other than the sounds of a few deer moving around, but they didn't appear to be spooked by my presence," Christ said. "Just as the sun illuminated my field of view, I could see a 4-point on the corn pile feeding."

Since it was first light on his first day, Christ decided to pass up the buck in hopes that another, larger buck might appear. After a few minutes, the 4-point buck moved on. Twenty minutes later, another 4-point came out of the woods and fed on the corn pile until 9 o'clock.

At 9:30, Christ pulled out a set of rattling horns and began to rattle violently at 30-minute intervals in hopes of bringing a mature buck into the area. No other bucks showed after his first two rattling sessions, and Christ felt as if his morning hunt was coming to an end.

After one last rattling session, another 4-point buck came barreling out of the woods, but he went right past the corn pile towards the end of the field. Immediately, a massive 11-point buck burst out of the woods.

"He came out looking for a fight and was on the trail of the small 4-point that had just passed by," Christ said.

The buck was moving steadily away from his stand, heading toward cover and out of range, when Christ went to his grunt call.

"I grunted several times ... and he immediately stopped," Christ said. "I picked out his vitals through my Leopold scope and shot. He jumped twice and began to stagger as his pace slowed to a walk. I felt as if he was getting ready to drop, but I sure didn't want him to get away though."

In an effort to secure his trophy, Christ planted another 150-grain, .308 slug from his Remington Model 700 into the buck's chest, and the deer quickly dropped to the ground.

Within minutes, Harding showed up to see what Christ had shot and found the huge buck in the broomstraw, 60 yards from the stand.

Only the second deer Christ has killed, the buck will be a tough one to top in the future. It scored an impressive 142-6/8 points (Boone & Crockett), with a 10-point, main-frame rack, a 22-inch outside spread and a single kicker point on the left brow tine.

The deer was processed at Cordray's Deer Processing in Ravenel and is being mounted by Kenneth Cordray of Cordray's Taxidermy.