When the 2018 white-tailed deer season opened on Aug. 15, Timmy Williamson and his son, Bryan, of Socastee had their eyes on a prize on the private land they hunt in the Trio area of Williamsburg County, just outside of Andrews.
While watching video from a camera set up on the property, they noticed a large deer with a sizable rack roaming the area.
“We’d been watching it probably since June of this year,” said Timmy Williamson. “We’ve been monitoring it. Bryan was ready, he was hunting it as much as he could, but between his school and my work we couldn’t go a whole lot.”
Between Aug. 15 and the opening of gun season on Sept. 1, Bryan Williamson, an 18-year-old senior at Socastee High School, headed to the property five times with his bow to try to bag the deer with the huge rack.
“He was within 10 yards (of the deer) three times during bow season, but he couldn’t get a clean shot on it,” said Timmy Williamson. “He was going pretty regularly trying to get another encounter with it.”
Bryan Williamson hunted the first day of gun season, to no avail, then the father-son duo headed to the property again the next day, on Sept. 2.
Just after 6:30 p.m., Bryan Williamson’s diligence paid off when he bagged what he thought was the buck he was after.
When the Williamsons approached the deer and began to put the required tag in place, they didn’t notice any male genitalia.
“We got to looking and thought . . . unreal,” said Timmy Williamson. “We had no idea it was a female.”
The large 11-point white-tailed deer was, indeed, a doe.
The doe weighed in at 204 pounds at 707 Deer Processing in Socastee.
Roper Wilkes of 707 Deer Processing carefully skinned the deer so a full body mount could be done, and confirmed the animal had no male sex organs present.
Charles Ruth, Big Game Program Coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (S.C. DNR), rarely sees or hears of such a deer harvested in the Palmetto State.
“It is very unusual,” said Ruth. “We have on the average one of these antlered does a year.”
Ruth notes the annual deer harvest is South Carolina has run between 180,000 to 200,000 a year in recent years.
“It’s a situation that involves elevated testosterone in that particular animal to the extent it grows a set of antlers,” said Ruth.
Such antlered does are capable of bearing young, and often do, Ruth said.
While antlered does are very uncommon, this was a huge one — much larger than typical does found in South Carolina.
“It’s pretty abnormal for them to be this big,” said Timmy Williamson.
Ruth receives word of a number of unusual variations of the white-tailed deer from time to time.
Aside from antlered bucks, there is the occasional albino, the calico or piebald deer and the cryptorchid buck.
“There’s all kind of weird things out there,” said Ruth.
Photos of the Williamson doe can be found at www.buckmasters.com/Hunting/Smalltown-Bucks.