It took less than 10 seconds last Friday afternoon for Cody Fields’ deer season to become a tremendous success.
Fields, a 26-year-old employee of the S.C. Department of Transportation from Antreville, S.C., had a big buck trot out into an Abbeville County fescue field he was watching, and less than 10 seconds elapsed between the buck’s appearance and the crack of his .270.
The 16-point non-typical, which Fields measured at 160 7/8 inches, weighed 200 pounds on the hoof and was his biggest buck ever.
And he didn’t even want to shoot it until several seconds into their meeting.
“I feel like I hit the lottery,” Fields said. “When I first saw him, I thought he might be a small buck, and I was gonna let him go. He had his nose on the ground, chasing two does.
“But I thought he had a big body, so I figured I’d better stop him.”
Fields grunted at the buck, which stopped, and Fields saw that he was bigger than he thought, a shooter. He had a moment to get the crosshairs on the buck and squeeze off a shot, which took the deer through both lungs. It ran about 70 yards and piled up in some small cedar trees along the edge of the field.
“It looked like he had goal posts on his his head when he was running away,” he said.
The buck carried a main-frame 4x5 rack with six sticker points, including split G2s on both antlers and a split brow tine on one side. Fields said it had a 22 1/2-inch inside spread, a 24 1/2-inch outside spread, 21-inch beams and a spot on the bottom of its right beam that looked like a drop tine had been broken off.
“He was on my hit list,” Fields said. “I’d seen him a couple of times, but I couldn’t get a shot at him. I didn’t have any trail-cam pix of him.”
Fields was sitting in his turkey hunting chair on the ground, in a hedgerow between two fescue fields, one of which bordered an oak bottom. At a few minutes before 7 p.m. on Friday, he heard a buck grunt down in the oak bottom.
“I said to myself, ‘What’s going on?’ because I didn’t see anything,” Fields said. “Then, I saw the does come running out, and I looked behind them and there he was. He was about 150 yards out in the field, and I thought he might be a small buck. He had his nose on the ground; that’s why I didn’t get too good a look at him.”
Fields thought the buck’s body looked big, so he grunted to stop him.
“He stopped and I saw he had a big body and a good rack, even though I could only see one side. I put it on him and shot. It all happened in about five seconds.”
Fields watched the buck fall just before it got to the woods, but he wasn’t about to go right to it. He has been working nights at The Rack Shack, a local deer processor. He headed there, expecting not to have a lot of work because Friday night high-school football games pull a lot of hunters out of the woods.
“I got there, and we got 11 deer in that night that I gutted and skinned,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d be there that long, but it was 10:45 before I got out. I got back to the field at 11.
“I had put my chair at the last spot of blood I’d found, and I walked right by him the first time. I walked down to a big creek, back up the hill, looking in little ditches for him. I was walking back, and I looked up at my truck in the field, and it looked funny, like somebody had bush-hogged the edge of the field where the little cedar trees were. Then I saw his eyes shining. It was his antlers sticking up that I thought was a tree that had been bush-hogged.”