Batesburg hunter bags 217-pound Aiken County giant

Will Berry of Batesburg, S.C. killed this Aiken County brute on a morning hunt.

9-point buck green-scored at 157 inches

For Will Berry of Batesburg, S.C., the three rifle cartridges loaded in his Remington 7mm magnum almost weren’t enough to take down his biggest buck ever. Berry cycled three shots into the chamber and only got performance from the last one in his rifle.

Berry watched this buck last deer season, but never saw it in the flesh.

“He was a complete stud last year,” Berry said.

But, rumors started flowing late last season that somebody had killed the buck. All spring and summer long, Berry thought the deer was gone and he would just focus on a new buck. Then in September, he put out his trail cameras and his long lost buck showed back up with a massive 9-point configuration. The saga was alive again, and he was bigger than ever.

Berry started hunting hard, but never could get the deer to show up on his stand. So he studied the big deer’s movements on his series of trail cameras scattered around his property. And on Sunday, Oct. 15, Berry discovered a new scrape line within a hardwood corridor adjacent to a creek bottom. He hoped this new activity was from his big buck and that the deer would show up later in the week when he could hunt.

A few days later, Berry headed to the hardwood creek bottom before daylight to go after his buck. Berry climbed into his stand and waited for the sun to come up. With no corn out, he was just watching through the hardwoods hoping to catch deer traveling through and picking up acorns along the way.

Shortly after daylight, Berry heard something walking and he looked up to see a deer slipping through.

“I could tell it was a buck, but I wasn’t sure how big the deer was,” he said.

“I saw one side of his horns and his large body. He was definitely a shooter,” he said. “I took off the safety and squeezed the trigger. All I heard was ‘click!’”

The gun didn’t fire. Berry quickly ejected the first cartridge, put in another one, and squeezed again. Once more, the gun only clicked.

“I only had three bullets in my gun and I was down to my last one. Luckily, the deer still didn’t know I was anywhere in the world. He was just walking slowly away from me towards the scrape line,” he said.

“I am not sure what was happening, but I put the third one in there and prayed to God asking for the gun to go off. Finally, the gun fired and he fell like a box of rocks,” he said.

Berry waited for 20 minutes before he climbed down and walked over to where his buck lay, finally getting a look at just how big it was.

“I dropped to my knees and said to myself, you have got to be kidding me. That’s the stud…it was him,” he said.

Berry’s buck was a real brute, weighing 217 pounds with a gross score of 157 inches.

About Jeff Burleson 1311 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.

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