Sumter County’s Pound Cake Buck

Daryl Gay | October 19, 2021

Debra Durden Sloan cooks a mean pound cake. I know, because I’ve wolfed down a few.

In fact, she procures her 100-acre deer lease not with dollars, but “with a couple of pound cakes every year.” 

Debra Durden Sloan with the big 12-point killed opening-day afternoon in Sumter County.

Since July, the Americus resident had been watching a certain 12-point buck on that Sumter County property, photos from the single camera on the place sending messages to her phone. The buck was stepping out in the same place, same time—50 yards from the one and only ladder stand she has set up.

Oct. 16, opening day of gun season, the deer stuck to his routine—for the last time.

“I got into the stand about 4:30 that afternoon, after hunting that morning and seeing only one tiny buck wandering around by himself,” said Debra.

“There was not much action for a couple hours, then I happened to see a shadow in the planted pines about 50 yards away, a little before seven. The buck came out at the same spot he has been coming out of since July.”

That must have been a big shadow, because, “He had to turn his head both ways, brushing limbs, as he stepped out. There was another deer behind him, but I never saw what that deer was, and I didn’t really care. This is the one I wanted.”

Debra, who has been hunting deer for more than 40 years, slammed a 100-grain bullet from her Browning Lightweight .243 lever action into the buck’s shoulder—something she doesn’t like to do.

“I had to shoulder shoot this deer,” she said, “but I usually like to neck shoot my deer so I can load them up by myself from where they fall. He walked out, just kind of looked around, then put his head down, not concerned at all. I took a long minute to get my composure before I pulled the trigger. He went down, then jumped back up, walked about 10 feet, fell again and never got back up. I waited a full five minutes before I got down and walked up on him. Then I started going through my phone to see who could help me get this thing out of here…

 “He wasn’t in the rut yet; he was starting to swell a little, and he had a little odor, so he was getting there, but it wasn’t bad.”

Year in and year out, Debra kills some good bucks so she’s adept at sizing them up. Her live-weight estimate on this one was 250 pounds, and the guys who helped load didn’t second guess it. 

Debra’s buck is a Week 6 contender in Truck-Buck. A taxidermist grossed the deer at 153 5/8 inches. Debra is a weekly contestant, and she’ll certainly be a strong contender in the Ladies Wildcard Division, which awards prizes and Shoot-Out spot for the best buck taken by a female during the season.

“Hunting by myself all the time, I try not to hunt too deep into this area, and I always let somebody know when I’m in and when I’m out.”

On the other hand, maybe she wasn’t by herself after all. For years, she’s cared for her ailing mother, who died a month ago to the day.

“I couldn’t help but think about her, as I do all the time, and I had a red bird flying back and forth around me, and a dragonfly constantly buzzing me. So I said, ‘OK, mom, if you’re going to help me, send the big boy out.’”

An hour later, he showed up.

“I know a lot of people don’t believe in things like that, but that’s OK, too.”

Next on her list?

“I have a beautiful high-tined, wide-racked eight on camera, and what I think is a 10. He’s not giving me a good look yet…”


Sumter County Best Bucks Of All-Time

1199 4/8 (NT)Harold Gunn2011SumterGunView 
2165 5/8 Heath Bass1989SumterGunView 
3164 2/8 Austin Scott2014SumterGunView 
4163 2/8 Kevin McCorkle2019SumterGunView 
5162 William Rogers2001SumterGun
6159 6/8 Brian Short1996SumterGunView 
7159 James Earl Bass1997SumterGun
8179 7/8 (NT)Jimmy High2022SumterGunView 
9156 6/8 Donna Findlay2014SumterGunView 
10156 1/8 Mickey Pityer1989SumterGun

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