On an unseasonably warm day this past November, Richard DesJardins of Mt. Pleasant slipped into his deer stand and downed his first buck ever.

Every hunter's first buck is memorable, but DesJardins' Dorchester County trophy would make any seasoned hunter wobbly in the knees at first sight - a big 8-point rack and 225 pounds on the hoof.

DesJardins is definitely a beginner when it comes to deer hunting, but he loves the outdoors and spending time in the woods and on the water. The 2007 season was his third season hunting deer.

DesJardins rarely goes fishing or hunting without taking one of his kids along. The Saturday morning he killed his big buck, his 10-year-old daughter, Mary Beth, had gone to the woods with him.

DesJardins' earliest deer-hunting efforts had been on WMAs, specifically the Wambaw Unit of the Frances Marion National Forest in Charleston County. This past season, however, he joined a few others to form a small hunting club on private land owned by Alex Barefoot near Harleyville.

On the morning of Nov. 3, DesJardins and his daughter slipped in before daylight and and occupied a stand that had been nicknamed "Scrape City" by a fellow club member.

Neither father nor daughter spotted any deer for the first few hours, and DesJardins' patience was beginning to diminish.

"Mary Beth was getting fidgety (and) had already dropped a cushion to the ground," he said. "Rattling antlers had crashed on the platform, making all kinds of noise, and she was bored and stiff. I was ready to call it quits when off to my right about 60 yards, this big boy came walking out of the thick timber on to a logging road.

"Despite all the racket we had made, he was looking over his shoulder behind him at something else and not towards the stand."

The buck was apparently overcome by the rut.

"I told my daughter not to move a muscle," said DesJardins, who raised his Savage .30-06 and fired off a single shot into the buck's lung area. The deer bolted out of sight into the dry bottom of Four Hole Swamp.

DesJardins and his daughter waited anxiously for 15 minutes before climbing down from the stand - to give the buck time to lay down and expire.

After climbing down, they walked to the edge of the logging road. Mary Beth took off into the woods in the direction the deer had gone, and DesJardins looked for blood where the buck had been standing when he shot.

A few minutes later, DesJardins had not found any blood and was trying not to panic, when he heard Mary Beth shouting from the thick cover. She had discovered the buck about 80 yards away, piled up against a small tree.

The buck had a large, 8-point frame that will likely score in the 130s, enough to get it in the South Carolina record book. DesJardins said that having Mary Beth with him will only amplify his feelings of accomplishment.

Butcher Boys Processing in Summerville handled the venison that DesJardins' family will enjoy for a while, and Woody's Taxidermy is preserving his trophy buck.