According to Lee Thomas of Leesville, S.C., he’s more of a fisherman than a hunter, but it’s easy to think otherwise when looking at the massive 11-point buck he killed in Orangeburg County on the evening of Nov. 25.
Thomas killed the buck with a 60-yard shot from an 18-foot tall ladder stand, and after watching a doe and two smaller bucks walk the same path just minutes earlier, he was pretty sure he knew exactly where the buck would be when he pulled the trigger.
“I’d been in the stand about an hour, and it was getting down to about 20 minutes of good light left. I looked around and saw a 6-point buck about 300 yards away. It was just looking around. I looked around some more, and when I looked back, that deer was gone, and I was wondering why it left so fast,” said Thomas.
A few seconds later, the hunter realized exactly why that deer had moved.
“I saw a doe moving across in front of me at a steady pace, and that buck was chasing her. They were moving from my left to my right, and as they moved, they crossed in front of me about 60 yards away, then disappeared into the woods. It was pretty exciting to see,” he said.
Within a few minutes, Thomas saw another 6-point buck enter the clearing in the same spot as the first. And it was clear what this deer was up to.
“He put his nose to the ground, and followed the exact same path as the first buck and the doe. He crossed right in front of me at 60 yards in the same place the others did, then disappeared into the same wooded area,” he said.
Thomas decided to look back to the location the two bucks had come out from, and this time he saw a much bigger buck in the same place, about 300 yards away.
“I could tell this one had a massive rack so I picked up my binoculars and got a good look. The buck ran about 40 yards, then stopped. I figured this deer was going to take the same route as the others, so I put my binoculars down and picked up my rifle. By now the buck had his nose to the ground and started a gallop down the exact same path as the others,” he said.
And when the buck was about 75 yards away and crossing in front of him, Thomas yelled loudly, hoping it would cause the deer to stop so he could take a clean shot. He had his Ruger .30-06 ready and was looking at the buck through the Nikon Buckmaster 3x9x50 scope.
“But it didn’t stop. It didn’t even slow down. I hollered a second time, a little louder this time, and it still didn’t stop or slow down. He was about 60 yards away then, and I hollered one more time, even louder. He stopped, I pulled the trigger, and he fell completely over and never so much as twitched again,” he said.
It’s the biggest buck he’s ever killed, and with an inside spread of 16 3/4 inches and a 10-inch main beam length, it’s been green-scored at 164 5/8 by Great Outdoors Taxidermy in Bowman, who is making a shoulder mount of the big buck for Thomas.