York County, S.C. hunter kills 16-point palmated buck

palmated buck
Mathew Smith shot this palmated, 16-point buck on Nov. 3, 2019 in York County, S.C.

Buck had moose-like rack

Mathew Smith of Filbert, S.C. killed a palmated buck in York County on Nov. 3 that will put him on the South Carolina deer records list. The buck has been green-scored at just over 153 inches, thanks to its thick, massive, 16-point rack.

It was Smith’s first time ever seeing the deer, even though he was hunting in the same place he’s been hunting for quite some time. He had a couple of 8-point bucks he’s been keeping tabs on, and was expecting to see one of them that day. But within 15 minutes of sitting down in his stand, the “mini-moose” showed up.

“I’ve never seen one with that much palmation. That day was the first time I’d ever seen that deer,” he said.

Smith got a late start on the day, but that didn’t hurt his hunt. If anything, it made the hunt much shorter than he’d ever planned.

“I didn’t get hunting that day until I actually sat down at 3:31 p.m., and I ended up shooting that deer at 3:42. I was only sitting there for around 10 minutes when I shot that deer,” he said.

When Smith first caught a glimpse of the palmated buck, he didn’t get a very good look at the rack. He could tell that it was a mature buck, and he assumed it was one of the 8-pointers on his hit list.

Smith shot the buck with a 28-year-old rifle

“I’ve had a couple of pretty good sized 8-points (on trail cams). And actually when I shot that deer, I caught just a glimpse of his rack and I thought it was one of the 8-points,” he said.

As soon as Smith saw the buck, it ducked its head down to eat some acorns. He wasted no time pulling his 1991 Marlin .30-30 rifle up and taking a shot from his ladder stand. The buck was only 35 to 40 yards away in a patch of hardwoods. Smith pulled the trigger and the deer ran about 15 yards before collapsing.

palmated buck
Here’s another angle of the palmated buck killed by Mathew Smith in York County, S.C.

After getting out of the stand, Smith said he realized how unique the buck was when he got about 15 feet away from the animal.

Once word began spreading about the palmated buck, Smith was contacted by a hunter from a neighboring property.

“They have a hunt club about two miles from us and they had pictures of him on their trail cameras last year. All the photos were from 10 p.m. to up until 4 a.m. Nobody had any daytime pictures of him,” he said.

Smith is having Stillwell’s Taxidermy create a shoulder mount of the palmated buck to commemorate the hunt.

Click here to listen to our interview with Smith to hear him tell the story in  his own words.

About Brian Cope 2783 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 brianc@carolinasportsman.com.

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