Leslie Mills, a 17-year-old high-school senior, shot a 225-pound monster Monday afternoon (Nov. 7) a beast with a main-frame 6x6 rack featuring double brow tines on both sides and one other sticker point that push the tape to more than 160 inches when measured.
"He's a monster; I was glad to get him," said Mills, who put a single round from her Remington 7mm-08 through the buck's shoulder, dropping him in the middle of an L-shaped cut cornfield she was watching.
Mills took the buck at around 5:30 p.m.; it first showed up and was feeding among the broken-down stalks. It took off with several does to another section of the field, and then returned, following one doe to within 75 yards of Mills' double-seated ladder stand.
"I got in the stand around 4:30; I forgot about the time change," Mills said. "I was watching the back end of the field. I heard some deer behind me, but I couldn't see back there."
Finally, she saw something in the field.
"It was getting about 'deer time' when I looked out and saw a deer with a real big body out in the middle of the field," Mills said. "He had his head down, and when he looked up, I saw the rack."
That's when her father almost inadvertently messed things up.
"My dad pulled up in his truck to pick me up, and the buck was looking at him, but then he went down the hill," Leslie Mills said. "A few minutes later, he came back up toward me, chasing a doe.
"He came up to the side of me, at about 75 yards, and I shot him. I didn't see what happened, so I reckon he dropped."
Mills' father, Heath Mills, arrived on the scene, guessing that his daughter had shot a wild hog – like two she'd shot the previous week.
"I told him, 'I've shot the biggest buck I've ever seen,'" Leslie Mills said. "There was a little road out into the field where we'd driven the truck to get the hogs I killed, and my dad and I went across that, and I told him the deer should be right about there.
"Then I lifted my light up, and all I saw were points; it was amazing."
It certainly was. Heath Mills took one look at the buck and couldn't believe his eyes.
"I've been hunting 35 years and I've never seen anything like it around here," the elder Mills said. "We've been trophy-hunting for 20 years in this area; we were one of the first clubs to start, and it's really paid off."
The buck weighed 225 pounds, but its antlers may have been even "heavier." The buck's rack has an 18-inch inside spread, but that's not its most-impressive feature. Both beams are palmated, with split brow tines on both sides and a sticker point jutting from a palmated area on the left beam.
Heath Mills said his daughter's stand was overlooking an area of the field that was dotted with fresh scrapes.
"They'd cut the corn, and there was a good bit of waste left," he said. "The deer and hogs had been working it pretty good for two weeks."
Heath Mills and his daughter – who started hunting with him at an early age, taking her first deer at 9 and making the big buck her 11th kill – both saw the big buck during the 2010 season. Leslie Mills had the better chance, but she couldn't get a shot; Heath saw it while in his truck riding around the farm.
Heath Mills said taxidermist Carlisle Sutton of Pageland, who will mount the huge buck, has estimated its rack at around 160 inches.
See more bucks killed this season – and ad photos of your own – in the South Carolina Sportsman Bag-a-Buck Contest!