Barnwell County hunter kills wide-racked velvet buck

velvet buck

Velvet buck had 21 5/8-inch spread

Dylan Dickey killed a big, wide-racked buck in Barnwell County on Aug. 16, 2021. He’d been observing the velvet buck through trail camera photos leading up to opening day.

“I had been watching this buck on camera for a month prior to the season opener. I had consistent daytime pictures for a few weeks. It was almost like clockwork,” said Dickey.

He headed to the stand that evening, and numerous deer showed up. At 7 p.m., his target buck made its way into shooting range.

“I got in, got settled, and deer were on me right away. At 7 o’clock, I look up and all I could see was rack coming through the clear cut,” he said.

To say Dickey was excited would be an understatement. It was the biggest buck he’d ever seen.

“It wasn’t a few seconds later he stepped out into the shooting lane to eat. Adrenaline rushing, I took the shot. This was the biggest buck I’ve ever laid eyes on. He kicked and ran. I never heard him crash and I didn’t feel good about the shot,” he said.

Dickey left the stand to search for blood. He found none.

“I found no blood, no sign of stumbling or anything,” he said.

He searched multiple times until 10 p.m., then concluded he’d missed the deer. The next afternoon, he returned to the stand, hoping for another shot at the buck.

Buzzards tell a different tale

“I was waiting on him again. I looked to my right and saw an 8-pointer standing there eating. Then I looked back over the clear cut, and I saw what looked like a buzzard trying to circle the area. And then I see another buzzard actually get up out of the clear cut,” he said. “And then another.”

At this point, Dickey called a friend to help him look for the buck he’d shot the day before. Once his friend arrived, they walked into the general area, then split up.

“Not even 10 minutes later, my buddy hollers at me saying he smelled something. Not long after that, I hear him say he was on him. And sure enough, there he was,” he said.

Coyotes had already gotten to the buck, and the buzzards were working on it too. It was a sad moment for Dickey. But also one of relief.

“I was sick because I realized I was all over this buck and never knew it because the clear cut was so thick. But at the same time, I was relieved knowing that it in fact was a clean shot and the buck wasn’t out there wounded,” he said.


Congratulations to Dickey, who is now entered in our Bag-A-Buck contest. Click here to enter your buck in the Carolina Sportsman Bag-A-Buck contest. We’re giving away some great monthly prizes, as well as a Grand Prize that includes a Millennium M25 hang-on deer stand and a 2-man, 2-day hunt for deer and hogs at Cherokee Run Hunting Lodge in Chesterfield, S.C.

About Brian Cope 2800 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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