Yemassee hunter downs huge Hampton County buck

Brian Barton killed this 14-point buck on Oct. 2, 2019 in Hampton County, S.C.

Elvis has left the building

When Brian Barton of Yemassee, S.C., settles down and decides to target a big buck he’s got on a trail camera on one of the properties he hunts, he bestows upon him a nickname.

So at daylight on Oct. 2, when he texted his buddies, “Elvis has left the building,” they all knew things had gone well.

Barton’s “Elvis” was a 14-point, 180-pound buck. The trophy deer first showed up in a trail-camera photo last season, the day after Barton had killed “Big 12,” a nice 12-point buck that was the biggest of his hunting career.

“Elvis” is a main-frame 5×5, 18 inches wide, with eight total points on his left beam and six on his right. Barton said Elvis was so big, the 2018 buck wasn’t even in the same class.

“I’ll never kill another one like him around here,” said Barton. He was hunting on a friend’s property in Hampton County when he saw the buck for the first time in person the morning of Oct. 2.

“We had him last year; I killed a 12-point one (evening). And the next morning, we had our first picture of Elvis,” he said. “Last year, he looked like he was just a big, clean 10. His frame actually looked better. The split on his (left) G2 wasn’t there. And his G4 was longer.”

Barton got his first trail-cam photos of Elvis this season on Sept. 19. The buck was in four or five photos, but he didn’t show up again until Oct. 2.

Barton was expecting to see a different deer that day

Barton’s trail cameras transmit photos to his cell phone. And early that morning, he was expecting to see photos of a big 8-pointer he was really hoping to kill. But the first photos that popped into his phone while he was getting dressed were of Elvis. 

This trail camera photo shows Elvis in 2018, before his rack got crazy.

He drove the 30 minutes from his home to the land, took a golf cart back into the woods, and slipped in the last 400 yards to a box stand in a stand of pine trees with several wide lanes cut through them. Photos he got along the way indicated that the big buck was still working over a corn pile 120 yards from his stand. 

“I texted one word to my buddy: ‘Elvis,’” said Barton, a 48-year-old driver for R&L Carriers. “I don’t know how I got to the stand (without spooking him) but it was still dark. When I got up in the box at 6:15, there were deer with him: a little buck, a doe, another little spike and a buck I named ‘Tripod’ because he’s only got three legs.

“Tripod” is a good-luck deer for Brian Barton and his Hampton County hunting buddies.

“He’s got a real tall rack on the left side, but his right isn’t much. He’s missing his left leg right at his knuckle (knee). We decided we’re not gonna shoot him. He’s kind of become a good omen for us. Every time Tripod shows up, a big buck shows up.”

Barton killed the deer with a Remington 300 Mag

Barton said he could hear deer running through the pines at 6:35. And he could see the form of a big deer in the corn, but it wasn’t light enough to shoot. Several minutes later, however, he peered through the Zeiss scope that’s sitting on his Remington 300 Mag, and he could see well enough to recognize the buck.

“All of the sudden, it got light enough to see, and I saw him pick his head up, and that was all I needed to see,” said Barton, who dropped the buck on the edge of the corn pile, then texted his buddies, “Pay the man. Elvis has left the building.” 

Now, Barton has set his sights on the big 8-pointer. He’s nicknamed him “Frazier” — in hopes of being able to text his buddies this famous boxing shout, “Down goes Frazier!”

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About Dan Kibler 887 Articles
Dan Kibler is the former managing editor of Carolina Sportsman Magazine. If every fish were a redfish and every big-game animal a wild turkey, he wouldn’t ever complain. His writing and photography skills have earned him numerous awards throughout his career.

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