In November of 2015, Marcus Church of Seneca, S.C. spotted a deer on his trail camera that caught his eye. The 9-point buck sported a messed up tine that led Church to nickname it Crabby Nine, and it made the deer easy to keep track of. Last week, Church finally killed the buck, even though it showed up only intermittently since that first sighting.
“There was a big knot on the right main beam,” stated Church.
Church saw the deer two more times on his trail camera that season. Then it disappeared, and he never saw the deer on camera for the rest of the season or during the spring.
Then on Sept. 24 of this year, Church got another picture of Crabby Nine on his trail camera. The deer had shown up 45 minutes after Church had left his stand at dark. The deer appeared on camera again the next morning at 8:23 a.m. Then it disappeared again.
On Oct. 15 and 16, Crabby Nine appeared on the trail camera again, but this time at another stand that was located two miles away from the first stand. Then, once again, it disappeared.
Church began alternating hunting between the two stands, choosing where to hunt depending on the wind and hunting conditions. He also became very diligent about keeping his hunting clothes in a bag, using scent killer, and putting them on prior to going into the woods. He began wearing only rubber boots, too.
Church said that over the last year he has probably passed up more than a hundred deer waiting on Crabby Nine to appear, but except for the trail camera pictures, he still had not seen the buck.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend told Church a story about how he had almost run over a massive 9-point buck. The deer had crossed not more than a mile away from Church’s first stand.
Church went to check the trail camera card and sure enough, Crabby Nine was back.
On Monday, Dec. 12, Church got off work at lunch, headed home, and took a shower. Then he headed to the first stand around 3:30 p.m. and waited.
Around 5 p.m., three does came by the stand. Then around 5:10 p.m. another doe came out. Church noticed that this doe kept looking back behind her, and then he heard another deer coming. Crabby Nine popped out of a pine thicket.
Church took a 30-yard heart shot with his 7mm magnum. The buck turned and flew back into a clump of trees.
“I could not find any blood or hair,” Church said. “I thought that I had missed him.”
Walking about 20 yards into the woods where the buck went, Church found a blood trail, but it was getting dark quickly, and he had only brought a green light. Church then walked another 20 yards into the dark woods when he “smelled a strong musty scent close by.” Then he spotted the outline of the deer and horns. The massive buck has been rough green scored at 148 inches, and weighed 150 pounds.