Jason Smythe first saw the big buck on on his trail cameras on the Smythe Farm near Ridgeway in 2016. He was a big 8-point sporting a rack with high, wide tines. The rack was so impressive Smythe dubbed him Goal Posts.
He saw him again on camera in 2017 and the rack was even more impressive with taller and wider tines. But, no matter how many times he hunted the buck's home area he never saw him in the flesh. And this year, he had not even appeared on camera so nobody knew if the big buck was still alive or not.
On Oct. 14, 2017, while hunting on the other side of the Smythe Farm, Smythe's brother Chris killed a buck with a massive 16-point rack that scored over 150 inches. The Moon Charts, which the Smythes follow almost religiously, had pointed to that date as the peak for hunting. The charts this year showed Oct. 15 as the peak hunting date, and Jason Smythe made sure he was in a tree stand that afternoon.
But for a long while it did not appear that the charts were going to help him. Then, with about 10 minutes of light left in the day, a doe stepped out in the road and meandered around.
“Then, a big-bodied deer stepped into the road,” Smythe said. “When he turned I could see how wide the rack was. As soon as he turned to give me a broad-side shot at about 170 yards, I squeezed the trigger on the .270 Mag.”
The buck lunged toward the cover and Smythe found him about 15 yards off the road. The buck showed plenty of evidence it had been fighting for his place in the rut, Smythe said. His ears were ripped apart and one brow tine was broken off, making him a 7-point instead of the 8-point he had featured on the camera shots.
Based on those camera shots last year, Smythe had estimated the buck was 4 ½-5 ½ years old, which would put him at possibly 6 ½ years old this year. In the year since he had last been seen on camera the buck had aged noticeably, Smythe said.
“The rack was 20 ½ inches on the outside spread, 18 inches inside and we scored him at 130 7/8, Smythe said. “He had been a perfect 8-point, with four points on each side, but to score 130 even with a broken tine is pretty awesome.”
The right main beam stretched 23.5 inches and the left beam was 23 inches. The base of the right beam was 5 inches in circumference and the base of the left beam was 4.75 inches around. The left G1 was broken off, but the right G1 was 3 inches. The right G2 was 9 3/8 inches and the left G2 was 10 ¼ inches. The right G3 was 6 inches and the left G3 was 6 ¾ inches.
Smythe said the key to growing big bucks on the Smythe Farm is that they thrive on a cut-over that has regrown to provide cover about 5 feet high.
“We plant seven to 10 food plots in clover and winter wheat in the inner part of the property so the deer have all the browse they need plus water and plenty of cover to bed in. That helps hold the deer in there and after planting clover for the past six to seven years it is turning the deer into something special.”
So special, in fact, that the Smythes have taken a South Carolina record deer there every year for the past six deer seasons.
And there should be more to come. They already have a huge 9-point buck with a big-framed rack on camera.