Most deer hunters across the Carolinas will never get the chance to kill a 150-class whitetail deer, but on Sunday, Nov. 4, Mark Tinsley of Allendale, S.C. not only got the chance to kill such a deer, it was actually the second time he killed the same deer.
Or at least it was the second time he shot it.
The story starts back during the summer when Tinsley, a local attorney and avid deer hunter, was busy managing the 3300 acres of private land he hunts in Allendale County. He had identified this particular 10-point buck last year in his herd and placed him on the hit list this year after watching him in a bachelor group of bucks during the summer.
“I saw this deer seven times in August, but didn’t want to kill him in velvet so I passed on him to see what kind of mass he would have,” said Tinsley. “I got a lot of video of him and even saw him several times after the velvet came off in September but never had a clean shot.”
On the afternoon of Sept. 11, Tinsley got his shot when he saw the deer crossing a field with several other bucks. Shooting a 6.5 PRC, a souped up version of a 6.5 Creedmoor that delivers a lot of downrange punch at long distances, he dropped the deer dead in its tracks. He climbed down from his stand and found where the deer was supposed to be, but wasn’t.
“I saw his back legs go out from under him. I know I hit the deer. He dropped where he stood,” said Tinsley.
After searching the rest of the afternoon and most of the night with the assistance of a couple of buddies and tracking dogs, the trophy deer was not found. Needless to say, Tinsley was sick over the loss of such a quality deer.
He spent the next month between hunts walking grids and smelling the air attempting to find the deer’s resting place. His heart sank further when a friend who was hunting the property texted him with the news he had just killed the elusive “dead” deer. After further review, a nice 10 point was killed by the other hunter, but it wasn’t Tinsley’s deer.
“Another buddy was hunting the property while I was away on a hunting trip and said he’d spotted the deer. It was living in a small patch of woods nearly a mile from it’s previous home range,” said Tinsley. “The friend said he’d shot at the deer, but was certain he’d missed as the trophy buck remained standing in the company of a hot doe.”
Tinsley committed the next several days to confirming the existence of his “dead” deer, hunting every afternoon. On the fourth day of hunting in the new area, his buck stepped out into an open field at 170 yards and immediately sprinted toward Tinsley’s stand. The buck closed the distance to a mere 27 yards when Tinsley took the shot and was finally able to place his hands on his trophy.
Once he caped the deer out, he found the bullet he’d fired at it on Sept. 11 in the high shoulder, almost exactly where he’d aimed.
“He was a 155-class deer at the beginning of the season, but one of his tines had been broken from fighting. He scored 147 3/8,” he said. “I’m happy with that. It just goes to show, you never give up.”