After waiting out a late day rainstorm, Bryan Barnhill of Ketchuptown, S.C. killed a massive 15-point buck that is his biggest ever in the back of an Horry County soybean field. And not only is the buck his personal best, the 164 1/8-inch brute is expected to topple the current Horry County non-typical record by more than 10 inches. Michael Johnson currently holds the county non-typical record with a 153 3/8-inch buck he killed in 2009.
A late-day rain shower on Wednesday, Nov. 7 steered Barnhill to the 10-acre soybean field that afternoon because it wasn’t his first choice if the rain had held off.
“I stood under a shelter for nearly an hour waiting for the rain to stop and this stand was the closest one I could get to in a short time,” Barnhill said. “The beans are high in this field and I could slip into the stand late if I had to without making too much commotion.”
“I had my eyes on a big buck on another farm, but I knew that I had to hunt this 10-acre soybean field if I wanted to hunt at all that afternoon,” he said.
When the rain finally let up at 4:45 p.m., he had just enough time for a brief evening hunt in this stand. Since he had previously seen a few smaller bucks and plenty of does in there, he knew it would be a good sit even though he may not get a shot at a trophy. But, he was dead wrong.
Within 10 minutes, five does walked into the field about 160 yards away and started feasting on the protein-rich soybeans. And moments later, the big 15-point buck fell right in behind them and Barnhill quickly noticed it was no run-of-the-mill buck.
“I glanced at his rack for a split second and knew it was something big enough to shoot. I pulled the crosshairs down and shot,” he exclaimed.
Immediately, the buck vanished and the does flushed like a covey of quail. Barnhill felt he had made a good shot and figured the deer would be piled up right where he last saw the deer. But, when he climbed down and made his way through the bean field, the deer was nowhere to be seen. He could see where the deer had kicked up dirt, but that was it.
“I walked around looking for blood scanning around and then I saw the tips of his antlers sticking out of the water in a ditch,” he said.
He’d never seen the deer on trail cameras or in person before, so he didn’t have any reason to believe a buck of this caliber would have showed up that afternoon.
“I had heard some other hunters in the area talk about a big non-typical buck they had on camera. It ended up being this buck, but where I killed this deer was a really long way away from where they were getting photos of him,” he said.
Taxidermist, Stuart Johnston of Wildlife Creations in Conway, S.C. is handling the mounting duties on the massive buck.