“Texas heart shot” did the deer in
Deer hunts just don’t get much more exciting than the hunt 15-year-old Jenna Miller and her father Matt Miller participated in on Saturday, Oct. 5. Miller and her dad were taking part in a youth hunt she was selected for on Fant’s Grove WMA. This nearly 9,000 acre tract owned by Clemson University in Anderson County is managed by the SCDNR.
During the hunt, Miller killed only her second deer ever and her first buck, a 140-class monster.
After drawing for stands in the organized event, the Miller’s were stationed in a pop-up blind overlooking an open field dotted with oak and persimmon trees. Not long into the evening hunt, the pair spotted a group of does. But Miller passed, hoping to take her first buck.
That opportunity came close when the father/daughter pair spotted a deer moving along the shadows in the fading light. Unfortunately, Miller didn’t have the chance for a shot.
The pair were packing up their belongings in the pop-up blind as darkness fell. Then Miller asked her dad to cut his flashlight off. She spotted a huge buck out front less than 100 yards from the blind.
“When I first saw him, he was standing broadside. But before I could get my gun up, he turned and started walking straight away from us,” said Miller.
Hunting from the ground helped in this situation
Fearful that the trophy of a lifetime was about to walk out of her life, Miller asked her dad what she should do.
“He told me to shoot him in the butt,” Miller laughed.
Taking careful aim with her .243, Miller delivered a fatal shot to the massive deer right where the sun don’t shine. Also known as a “Texas heart shot,” the buck only managed 15 yards before he went down.
“A lot of hunters will say that’s not a fatal or even an ethical shot. And I would agree if we were hunting from an elevated stand,” said Matt Miller, “but from our vantage point in a ground blind, it is a very fatal shot and he went down hard.”
The two hunters scrambled from the blind and made their way to the buck to be sure he had expired.
“When I realized he was dead, I just started freaking out,” said Miller. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Another hunter shared live photos of Miller’s buck with her
SCDNR biologist Richard Morton soon collected the Millers and their trophy. Morton has played a major role in helping manage Fant’s Grove during his tenure with SCDNR. Still, he was amazed at the buck Miller had taken.
“All Richard could say was ‘what in the world have you shot, youngin’?”, said the older Miller. “He was as excited as I was that she had taken this deer.”
Arriving back at the hunt station, another volunteer offered the Millers several photos of her buck that had been obtained from long distance through a spotting scope prior to the season.
Matt Miller and his father pulled a tape on the deer’s antlers. They rough green scored the rack at 136 7/8 inches. But they later discovered they’d missed a measurement that will likely kick that score over the 140 mark.
The pair are currently undecided about where to take the buck to be mounted.