Evin Coombes' 17th birthday was Dec. 30, between Christmas and New Year's Day.

His best "present" came three days after Christmas and two days before his birthday, unwrapped and not under any tree. It was a huge 15-point Lexington County buck, a beast that won South Carolina Sportsman's monthly Bag-A-Buck contest for December.

A 10th-grader at Irmo High School outside Columbia, Coombes dropped his super buck with a 285-yard shot from his Savage .308 at around 9 a.m. But the first thing he said when he and his father Mike found the deer after a 100-yard blood-trailing session, was "I'm sorry, Dad."

Mike Coombes wasn't sorry at all. Even though he'd been hunting that specific buck for better than two seasons, he was thrilled at his son's trophy, which carries a main-frame 10-point rack with split brow tines on both antlers and matching sticker points on tines on each beam.

"I took him to Price's Feed Store in Gilbert, and they scored him over 160 (inches)," Mike Coombes said.

For winning the monthly contest, Coombes will receive a South Carolina Sportsman T-shirt and decal, a copy of Cooking on the Wild Side by South Carolina Sportsman Publisher Ty Conti, a Realtree cap and Monster Buck DVDs, a Tink's Scent Kit and a Plano storage box.

He will remain eligible, along with all contest entrants, for the grand prize: a two-day hunting trip at The Territories near Ninety Six, a Leupold scope and an archery package from Irby Street Sporting Goods and Angler's Mart in Florence. The winner will be selected at the Palmetto Sportsman's Classic in Columbia in late March.

Evin Coombes was set up in a tree stand along a shooting lane that separated a cutover, which was logged and burned a year ago, and a pecan orchard. He'd seen the big buck his dad was after earlier in the season, but didn't have a good shot and didn't take a bad one.

"He was the biggest deer I've ever seen," Evin Coombes said. "There's no question he was the great big buck my dad was after. When we found him, I told him I was sorry, but he was happy. We celebrated and all that. We really bonded."

Mike Coombes had first seen the buck two years ago. He put up a trail camera to try and get pictures of the deer and went whole-hog after him. He was hunting in a stand approximately 300 yards from his son when he heard the gun shot.

"I heard the shot, then I heard that 'slap' you hear when the bullet hits," Mike Coombes said. "I've never seen anybody that happy when we found him."