Right place, right time.
That about sums up the hunt for Curtis Piper of Gaffney who took a high 120-class 9-point that weighed well over 200 pounds in Chester County opening weekend.
Piper and his son, Josh, are both members of the club. On opening weekend of gun season, another club member hunted a likely spot and reported seeing “a mature buck with forked antlers” that he did not get a chance to shoot. The next morning Josh hunted the same spot and saw nothing.
“So, Saturday afternoon, both of them said they were going to hunt other spots, so I sat that area,” said Piper. “About 4:40 p.m. I heard the deer walking in the leaves. I turned and looked over my left shoulder and had the gun ready when he appeared.”
Piper dropped the buck with one shot.
“I thought he was a good 3 ½-year old deer, but I had no idea he was as nice as he really was,” Piper said. “At the processor the scales went to 200 pounds and his head and front feet were still on the ground so he weighed at least that, maybe more.”
The rack had main beams of 19-plus inches on one side and 21 inches on the other. The circumference of one at the base was 6 inches and the other just slightly more than 6 inches. One G1 was 4 inches and the other was 6 inches. The G-2s were 9 inches and just under 9 inches. Piper said the rack measured 128 ¾ inches.
After closer inspection, Piper said the deer was older than he first thought, at least 4 ½ years, possibly 5 ½ years old. And, he said, he was as proud of harvesting a buck over 200 pounds as he was of possibly making the South Carolina records book.
“I've never been one to collect antlers or to see my name in the record book,” he said. “I don''t have a typical outlook on deer hunting, probably from my dog hunting background. I've deer hunted my whole life and shot a bunch of deer under 175 pounds, a handful over 175 pounds, and only three or four over 190 pounds, so I am really proud of this buck.”
Piper also still hunts different from most hunters. While he puts out corn to attract hogs, he does not sit over the corn pile.
“I hunt trails going to the corn piles and I use no scent cover or bleat or grunt calls. I wash my clothes in Dawn dish washing detergent because it takes the grease and odors out and is far cheaper than the sport washes. I was wearing old military green fatigue pants and a Mossy Oak shirt and I did not even have a hat on.”
Piper said he doesn't like to sit in stationary stands, either. He uses an old type climbing stand, facing the tree. The tree he chose that afternoon was on a natural funnel where a clearcut adjoins a hardwood bottom with two ditches providing walking areas for deer and pigs. That setting provided a little extra thrill for Piper about 20 minutes after he shot the deer.
“Four hogs came down the same trail the deer had and when they saw him on the ground they slammed on the brakes. It really alarmed them. I had never seen pigs react to a dead animal that way.”
While the club's trail cameras had captured multiple scenes of deer, turkey and hogs, Piper's buck did not appear on any of them.
“Nobody in the club had seen him before. We did not know he was there.”
Right place, right time.