Dog drive nets hunter’s best buck
Jamie Corley of Pelion, S.C. killed a Savannah River Site giant buck while on a dog drive on Nov. 22. The 17-point buck has been green scored at 165 net inches. It is the biggest deer Corley has ever killed.
This was an organized draw hunt that Corley was invited to just a day or two before the event. The organizers dropped the hunters off around 7:30 a.m at safe distances from each other. At 8 a.m., the hunters loaded their firearms and began waiting for the dogs to push deer their way. At 8:47 a.m., Corley shot his prized buck. But he almost didn’t even look in that direction when he first heard the animal.
“I’d been hearing pine cones dropping off the trees all morning. And I heard what sounded like another one falling. But I looked over that way, and the deer was standing there. I could only see the back half of its body. The front half was behind a tree. I got my gun up, because even if it was a doe, I was going to shoot it. Then it stepped out from behind the tree about 75 yards away from me,” said Corley. He pulled the trigger on his Benelli 12-gauge shotgun.
The deer fell, then took off running toward the hunter, who shot it again. And again. The deer finally fell for good. And it wasn’t until Corley walked up to the buck that he realized how big it was.
Icing on the cake
“It all happened so fast, all I could tell at first is that it was a buck. I thought it was a nice buck, but I had no idea it was that nice until I walked up and put my hands on it. I just started shaking then. I’d never seen anything like that before,” he said.
Still hearing the dogs run, Corley tried hard to keep his eyes off the massive rack of the buck he’d just killed, and on the woods around him. Each hunter was allowed to kill two deer on this hunt. And even though he couldn’t have been happier with what he’d already gotten, he wasn’t against getting another for stocking the freezer.
“About 20 minutes later, I killed another one. This one was a 7-pointer, and was a little bit bigger in the body than the 17-pointer,” he said.
The Savannah River Site is not open to the general public for hunting, but they hold several draw hunts there each year. Corley’s advice to anyone that gets an invite for a draw hunt is to definitely do it.