Thad Greer manages Fairview Plantation, so he's used to chasing big bucks.

"This is what I do," Greer said in late October. "I kill big bucks."

So he never batted an eye when the 120-class 8-point slipped into view only 25 yards away on the evening of Oct. 4.

"I had been seeing deer coming out into this soybean field, and about three weeks earlier my son and I jumped up a deer when we were putting up a lock-on stand," Greer said.

That deer was a massive-racked buck, still fully in velvet.

"I thought, 'Damn, that's a good deer,'" Greer said. "I figured he'd be in the 150s."

He was excited, but didn't return until the evening of Oct. 4 because he didn't want to mess up the area.

"I had to have a south wind, so I had to wait to hunt the stand," he explained.

It rained that morning, but the wind was from the south. Greer knew that when water stopped falling from sky he would be set. That happened about 3 p.m., so he hurried to his stand.

He didn't have to wait long, as deer began working into the field.

"I was sitting on a (creek) branch, so I could hear them crossing," Greer said.

As daylight began to fail, he heard the gravel in the creek crunching and the 120-class 8-point and a small scrub buck quickly walked the 50 yards to Greer's position on the edge of the field.

"If I didn't know that (big) buck was there, I would have shot the 8-point," the hunter said. "But I knew that (big) deer was in there, so I just let it walk."

He was rewarded about five minutes later, as he heard yet more crunching in the creek.

"I could hear the deer crossing the creek, but I couldn't see him," he explained.

A few seconds later, Greer saw antlers in the underbrush and readied himself.

"I could just see black above his head, so I knew it was him," Greer said.

When the deer stepped into the open less than 30 yards away, the hunter pulled an arrow into place.

"As I drew back, he stopped," Greer explained. "He actually started to turn, and looked back (the way it had come)."

The arrow streaked to the target, and the slightly-quartering deer bolted.

"I wasn't sure I had made a good shot, so we waited until about 9 o'clock to go back and look for him," Greer said.

The deer had run about 100 yards before piling up, and Greer was shocked when he got his first close-up view of the deer's rack. There were points and lumps all over the still-velvet-covered antlers.

"I scored him that night, and came up with 174, but when I scored him the next day I got 178," Greer said. "Friends were asking me what the deer scored, and I didn't know.

"I've never measured anything like that before."

So he turned to Chad Dacus, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks' deer study leader, to get a better idea of how the deer will eventually score.

"Chad scored it at 178 2/8 (Pope & Young)," Greer said.