Why do hunters get so fired up when the rut starts?
Because no matter how small the land you’re hunting, no matter what you’ve been seeing on your game cameras, you just never know what’s going to show up.
Cory Christensen, a 31-year-old mechanic from Bonneau, lived every hunter’s dream Sept. 29 when he dropped a dream buck on a 4-acre property in Berkeley County.
The buck, a free-ranging brute with an unofficial gross antler score of more than 155 inches, will most likely hit the record books as one of the largest ever taken in Berkeley County.
“The biggest deer I’ve ever killed back there is a scrubby 6-point,” Christensen said.
The giant buck, which sports 10 points, three kickers and a ton of mass, first showed up the morning of Sept. 28 — but Christensen wasn’t there.
“I was torn between deer and goose hunting,” Christensen said. “I decided to go goose hunting on Saturday. As soon as I got back I checked my trail camera to see what I missed. I was heartbroken to have 13 pictures of this buck from 8:12 to 8:19 a.m.”
Christensen hunted the next morning, and actually passed up a nice 8-pointer that would have been the largest deer he’d ever killed. “That was tough,” he said.
But the big boy didn’t show.
“I got back in the stand at 5 p.m. and was texting a friend trail-cam pics of the deer. He was telling me how fake they were, and I was promising him that they were not.
“At 5:40 I looked up and the buck was standing 20 yards away, looking right at my stand. I shot him with my 30-06 in the right shoulder, and he dropped instantly.
“I knew I killed a big deer, but I didn’t know I killed a deer that big.”
The wall-hanger weighed 176 pounds, not terribly heavy for a buck of that caliber.
The buck was rutting, Christensen said, which explains why it was never seen before that weekend.
Bucks tend to wander greater distances during the rut, some roaming for miles looking for does ready to breed.
“I talked to the neighbors and they had some old sheds from him, but nobody had ever seen him before.”
Waterfowl lottery hunts
The Department of Natural Resources will no longer mail applications for waterfowl lottery hunts to those who previous applied.
The agency has created a webpage that will allow interested hunters to apply for various hunts and pay fees. Go to dnr.sc.gov and use the “Public Lottery Hunt Applications” button to apply.
In another change, DNR has designated three public waterfowl areas as “Youth Only” areas. Donnelley, Bonneau Ferry and Clemson areas will require one or two hunting youths less than 16 years of age, with an accompanying adult who is at least 21 years of age and who will not be allowed to shoot.
Reach Matt Winter, manager of niche content and design and editor of Tideline magazine, at (843) 937-5568 or firstname.lastname@example.org.