Eight years ago, Danny Dillard had never dreamed about putting a buck into the state record book.
So much for dreaming.
Armed with knowledge gleaned from 34 years of hunting, and capitalizing on the opportunity to have sudden access to an untapped, prime parcel of land, things began to change quickly.
In 2007, he shot a big-racked buck in Anderson County that he watched run headlong into a tree with its final steps, breaking off a tine in the process. That broken tine rendered unscoreable a rack that very well might have qualified for Boone and Crockett status.
“That kind of opened my eyes to what was possible,” Dillard said.
It certainly did. Two years later, Dillard finally bagged his Boone and Crockett buck: a 240-pound, 13-pointer that scored 172 points, ranking it third on South Carolina’s all-time list.
To say Dillard is on a deer-hunting roll would be a gross understatement. He’s put seven more bucks in the record book since, including three in 2013 and another last March.
He has four bucks in the Top 88 on the all-time typical list; no other hunter has more than two.
“People look at the last eight years or so and forget about the other 30-plus years before that when I was going through my growing pains as a hunter,” Dillard said.
But there’s no denying that Dillard is reaping his just rewards now.
“I’ve had a couple of really good years, so that helped,” Dillard said. “But I don’t want to have people look at me as far as what I’ve been able to do. I just want them to see that yes, it can be done. I just want people to know that this state can produce good quality bucks.”
Danny Dillard’s Elite Eight
Rank Score County Date Killed
3 172 Anderson Oct. 23, 2009
14 164 Abbeville Dec. 15, 2011
75 1555/8 Edgefield Oct. 24, 2013
88 1547/8 Anderson Nov. 4, 2012
179 1504/8 Anderson Dec. 27, 2012
270 148 Edgefield Dec. 15, 2010
289 1475/8 Anderson Nov. 17, 2008
3,381 1306/8 Edgefield Nov. 23, 2008