Although the overall deer harvest in South Carolina may have been down slightly in 2015, the number of antlers that met state record requirements was up substantially over the previous year.
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources annually makes a concerted effort in the spring to measure deer racks, using the Boone and Crockett method. To qualify for the state record list typical antlers racks must score a minimum of 125 points typical (basically symmetrical) or 145 points non-typical.
This spring there were 494 sets of antlers scored, with 217 meeting the minimum to earn entry into the state records list – 203 sets of typical antlers and 14 non-typical racks. That compares to 176 sets of antlers that made the record book in the 2015 scoring sessions.
Not all antlers were from deer harvested in 2015, although 189 of the 217 were taken during the 2014 or 2015 seasons.
The top typical buck was a 167 5/8-inch deer harvested by David Swaney in Anderson County in December 2015. Swaney’s trophy also qualified for the Boone and Crockett Club’s Three Year Awards Period List and ranks 10th among South Carolina’s all-time typical deer.
Other top typical racks scored included a 156 1/8-inch buck harvested in Chester County in November 2002 by Van Van Quinn and a 156 0/8-inch buck taken in Saluda County in October 2015 by Tristan Dubose.
The top non-typical deer measured 167 6/8 points, taken in November 2015 by Jonathan Anders in Greenville County.
According to Charles Ruth, Deer Project Supervisor for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, the top-producing county for the state records list this year was Aiken County with 21, followed by Orangeburg with 17, Anderson with 12 and Darlington and Oconee counties with 10 each.
Orangeburg County tops the all-time list with 486 sets of antlers on the list. Aiken is second with 417, followed by Fairfield, 274; Anderson, 264; and Williamsburg, 251. The top counties per unit area of harvest are Anderson, Abbeville, Orangeburg, Aiken and Allendale.
The state records list has 6,517 typical and 265 non-typical sets of deer antlers. The complete list can be found at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/deer/2016DeerAntlerRecords.html.