It’s a wonder that South Carolina deer hunters killed any deer to speak of during the 2015 season that ended Jan. 1. Reports of big bucks were down through the season’s first month, then the rains came, with flooding forcing the closure of a good amount of Lowcountry and Midlands acreage with the peak of October hunting and the rut right on the horizon.
Then add in 70-degree weather for the last two weeks of the season, and you’re looking at all the ingredients needed for a really poor harvest, especially for big bucks.
However, some South Carolina hunters made things happen, despite Mother Nature’s efforts and the fact that Old Man Winter didn’t act like himself when he arrived.
A handful of really nice bucks fell during the last five weeks of the season, from areas all across the state — although Upstate hunters appeared to do the most damage, one in particular.
Woody David Swaney of Pendleton killed a great 11-pointer on Dec. 19 — not far from Pendleton High School in Anderson County — that may challenge William Wyatt’s 176-inch state-record typical killed in Pickens County in 1994.
The buck is a main-frame 5x5 with a split brow tine on its right side and tremendous tine length on both sides. Taxidermist and deer processor Chuck Mulkey of Anderson measured the rack and gave it a green net typical score of 180 inches.
“I’ve scored this deer three times; it’s the biggest I’ve ever seen in 28 years,” he said. “I think it’s gonna score every bit of 177 or 178 after the (60-day) drying period.
“The little split brow tine is only 3 1/2 inches long, and it has a 20 1/2-inch inside spread. The G2s are 13 and 12 1/2 inches, and the G3s are both 12 inches. He looks just like a big Texas deer with the long tines.”
Swaney got the buck in range by bleating with his deer call. The buck came busting through a thicket into a clearing, where Swaney anchored him with a single shot from his .243.
Several other South Carolina hunters took nice bucks late in the season, and their stories follow:
Click here to read about other big South Carolina bucks.