12-point buck required some tracking
Chris Blackwell of Fort Mill, SC killed a Lancaster County 12-point buck during a morning hunt on Nov. 13, 2022. He shot the buck with a Ruger .270 from about 70 yards away.
Blackwell had never seen this deer before, and his trail cameras had not captured any photos of it. He was hunting from a Millennium double ladder stand looking over a power line.
After searching for the deer with no luck, he called Jamie Holler to help track the deer with his dog Spud for assistance.
Here’s the rest of the story, in Blackwell’s own words:
Where do I begin . . . . I have a 3 month old newborn so it’s cut my hunting time way back then what I’m used to, I usually can sneak out for one hunt a week. I was able to hunt all day Saturday with no luck in the morning and only seeing one doe in the afternoon. I go to leave camp and on my way home my truck breaks down. I left it on the side of the road and a fellow club member brought me home.
I had no intentions of going hunting Sunday. Another club member called who has access to a tow truck and said he would be glad to help and tow my truck home and all I needed to do was leave the keys in the gas cap so he could grab it. Shared this with my wife and she said well since you have to go down there anyways you mind as well go hunting Sunday morning, so that was the plan.
I woke up early Sunday morning jumped in my Honda and headed to the club, no idea where I was going to hunt since I was driving a Honda Accord lol. I arrived at camp and another member was there and told me to go back to the power line stand and I could use his four wheeler to get there. So here I go hunting the same stand I hunted the evening before.
I get settled in the stand before daylight and I’m watching tik tok to pass the time, the first video was how to call I’m a buck during lockdown. I’ve used calls for a while now with no luck but what the hell why not. It gets to be shooting light and I proceed to do the call sequence I just viewed to see what would happen. I look down at my phone to reply from the club member that was coming to tow my truck, I respond and look back up. To my surprise there was a buck that looked like a moose halfway across the power line between 60-70 yards, biggest buck I’ve ever seen in flesh!
He was on a mission looking for the deer in his territory! I slowly raise my grandfather’s.270 and put it on the gun rest and the rest dropped down, luckily not spooking or alerting this monster! I reset and put the cross hairs dead on his shoulder, I knew I had to move quickly bc he was on a mission! I took a breath, let half out, as my father had taught me since I started hunting years ago. I slowly squeezed off trying to keep my calm. I saw the monster buck up and mule kick, I knew I hit the deer!
I call my wife barely able to make a sentence or breath, I was pumped to say the least! Somehow I calmed myself down and made myself wait about an hour before I climbed down to go find my trophy! To my surprise I get to the impact sight and find nothing. I grid search the immediate woods with no luck. I back out and help a fellow club member with a buck he shot that morning, I was super disappointed, confused and down on myself.
After finishing skinning his deer we go back to the power line where I was at that morning. We search and he finds a huge clump of grey hair with blood on it, this gave me hope! We both search with no success. We go back to camp and I head home. While on the way I call some elder hunters who I had grown up with in the fort mill area and shared my story. This includes my father who has taught me everything I know! They all assured me I hit that deer and need to get back there with a tracking dog.
I called the president of the clubs brother who has a tracking dog and he could not make it. He referred me to Jamie Hollar with a dog named Spud. I contacted him and we txt back and forth all day, he was at work and wouldn’t get off till 10 and I thought I was out of luck. He txt me around 11 Sunday night and said he wants to give it a shot and would meet me there. I talk to the wife and she agreed I needed to go.
I get to the club and meet Jamie and Spud for the first time and it’s like we had known each other forever. We load up and head to the power line. Spud jumps out and before I could get my boots on he was already at the impact sight. He heads into the woods and Jamie and I look for sign, we find nothing. About 29 minutes into the track I told Jamie that if he didn’t have a good feeling I don’t want to waste his time, I know it’s late and he has been at work all day and his response was Spud is hard on a trail let’s keep going!
Not 10 mins later Spud sounds off with two barks! Jamie looked at me and said he has your deer. . . We take off through all kinds of terrain! We get close to where Spud is and Jamie is in front of me, he turns around and hugs me, mind you I just met this man, he said Chris you we right, that is an absolute Moose!
I saw the amazing buck and let my emotions get the best of me and started crying in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night. This deer was bigger than anything I ever thought I’d shoot in my lifetime! Spud was so proud and just stood over him! We drag him out and they head home. I had just met two lifetime friends! An amazing man with an amazing dog!
Jamie made a post on fb later that night and my phone blew up the next morning! The amount of sportsman we have in South Carolina is unbelievable! Kind words, praise and other hunters who have been hunting this deer and have him on camera, they called and just wanted to congratulate me! The strong tie between stand up hunters and outdoorsman is an unbelievable bond and I couldn’t be more happy to be a part of it! Needless to say my entire weekend was filled with a lot of emotional highs and lows and ended up with an amazing experience and an absolute buck of a lifetime!
Bag A Buck
Congratulations to Blackwell, who is now entered in our Bag-A-Buck Contest and in the running for these monthly prizes and the Grand Prize package:
Monthly winners will receive:
The Grand Prize winner will receive:
- Cherokee Run Hunting Lodge 2-day, two-man deer/hog hunt
- Seneca Dragon Claw airgun/arrow gun combo from Pyramid Air
- Barnett Hyper XP 405 Crossbow
- MAGLITE Field Ops Bundle
- Grey Man Tactical Vehicle Hunting Gun Rack RMP Package
- 3-year subscription to Carolina Sportsman Magazine
You can be in the running for these prizes too by sharing your story and photo in our Bag-A-Buck gallery.