Both bucks in full velvet
Fueled by trail cam pictures depicting a gang of nice bucks on one of his corn piles, Michael Jones of Gaston, S.C. was itching to get into the woods on opening day, Aug. 15. Although planning to bow hunt, he picked up his rifle instead, and wound up shooting 2 of his best bucks to date within minutes of each other, a 7-point and a 9-point in Orangeburg County.
Jones had been working extra hard during the offseason to hone his archery skills, but, when he took a quick practice round before his evening hunt, something wasn’t quite right, causing him to miss his target several times. Rather than risk hunting with faulty sights, he grabbed his Remington 700 .30-06.
“I got in the stand about 6:30 that evening,” said Jones, who noted that he was wearing blue jeans with a camo t-shirt and upwind of his corn pile without scent control. “It was real hot, but the bucks came out about 7:05.
“I watched both the bucks I shot for about 10 minutes; all were in velvet, and there was a third one, a 6 point. I took a couple of pictures with my phone, put my phone down, and shot the biggest body, smallest width rack. He dropped dead.”
With the ringing shot, the 9-point crumpled to the ground while the others scattered into the brush about 40 yards away. Jones chose to sit tight in his climbing stand 30 feet up rather than moving in to claim his prize, banking on another opportunity. About a minute later, the 7-point returned for another mouthful of corn. When he did, Jones delivered another 165 grain Federal bullet behind its left shoulder at 25 yards. This buck also dropped on the spot.
Although Jones’ story is a testament to successful management, he was actually disappointed about recently losing the lease on a property he’d been managing for 5 years and had been working hard to bring the newfound 70-acre pine farm up to speed.
“When I got it the stand, I prayed to God that I would see something,” said Jones. “When those 2 deer came through, I couldn’t believe it.”
Jones’ 9-point had an inside spread of 13 inches and weighed in at 180 pounds, while the 7-point weighed 160 pounds and had a 15.5-inch inside spread.