Dream Season For Warren County Deer Hunter
Hunter's Journal: GON readers share their favorite hunt stories.
By O.J. Greene
This year was the greatest hunting season of all time. My oldest son shot his first deer, and I finally took my first archery buck. Both harvests have been a long time in the making.
During my first 43 years of life, I shot three does during a total of four hunts. It seemed pretty easy to me. My uncles took me to a stand, and I shot a deer. I had no concept of the work that went into shooting a mature buck, especially with a bow.
In June 2012, that all changed. The night before my first son Parker was born, I decided to buy him a .22 Henry. At the store, a guy named Lance sold me a rifle for my son and an additional rifle for myself. I mentioned that I was raised on a farm where I grew up shooting guns. My parents had recently sold the farm, and I asked if he knew of somewhere I could shoot outdoors at a gun range. He said he shot at his hunting club. I think I asked him what that was. I had no concept. Little did I know how a Henry .22 and a newborn boy were about to change my life.
I joined his club and told him I would just be a “sponsor” but not hunt much because of the cold. I hate the cold. I bought a 4-wheeler and started shooting targets and was having a great time. In August, Lance said I had to give the target shooting a break due to archery season approaching. I said, “It’s 102 degrees, and you’re telling me I can hunt in shorts if I buy a bow?” I bought a stand, a bow, a camera and some camo. A month later, I got my first trail-cam pics, and I was hooked.
Today, I am president of that same club, and we practice QDM. Parker is now 7 and my favorite hunting buddy. Lance is still a close friend. My wife Shannon still hasn’t forgiven him for starting all this, but she loves going to camp with the kids.
Parker started sitting in stands with me when he was 3. We spooked more deer than you can imagine, giggling, singing, playing games and snoring. In the off season, we worked on food plots, scouted and watched lots of hunting on TV together.
For the 2019-20 hunting season, Parker was ready to shoot his first deer. He let nearly a dozen walk and showed incredible maturity. Finally, everything came together. With his mom, his brother Caleb and sister Peyton all at camp to help celebrate, he shot his first deer.
This past season was my fourth season of hunting bow only. I have missed six shots at mature bucks with my bow, twice on this same buck. I let 20 or so bucks walk and spooked many more. I turned on my GoPro and filmed failure after failure.
On Oct. 31, I called my buddy Mathew and said, “Let’s hunt tomorrow. It’s pre-rut, and the weather is perfect.” We got up early, ditched work and headed to camp. Mathew sat in a stand that hadn’t been hunted all season and was covered up in deer all morning. I sat freezing and alone, thinking I must smell like gym socks or something.
Finally at 10 a.m., a young buck came through, stopping to work a mock scrape I made at 25 yards. Soon behind him a bruiser came through like he was late picking up his prom date. He never gave me a shot before vanishing in the brush. I gave a quick snort wheeze, hoping he might turn. The woods went dead quiet again.
Thirty minutes later, I felt like my hunt was over and decided to send a few emails before I climbing down as an attempt to appease my guilt for playing hooky. Stupid work. When I got down, I checked my camera. The big buck had slipped by me while I had my head buried in my phone. Stupid work. We decided to try again on Sunday.
On Sunday, I dropped Mathew at his stand and scrambled to mine just as the sun was coming up. I got in my stand and immediately did some grunting and a little rattling, hoping to disguise my entry. Before I had time to sit down, the young buck from Friday stepped out. I was filming him at the mock scrape when he started looking over his shoulder. I knew this was it. As I put down my phone and picked up my bow, I saw big, dark antlers coming through the brush at 40 yards and closing fast. Almost immediately, he stepped behind a tree, and I drew back. He stepped out and grunted like he was the man. There he was, broadside at 27 yards.
When I released the arrow, he dropped like he was hit by a truck, and I got the whole thing on video and the video is awesome. I texted my wife and then I screamed my gratitude to God. Shannon called just as I got my hands on him. I started crying like a baby.
My first archery buck was a 6 1/2-year-old Pope and Young with an official net score of 137 0/8, and he is the all-time Warren County archery record according to GON’s County-by-County Big Buck Rankings.
This was the greatest hunting season of all time. I started hunting by accident, and it has changed my life for the better. I find therapy for my soul in the woods, and I get to share it with my family. We even process, grind and package our deer together. We have all found a love for deer and hunting. My son and I both achieved landmark goals this year. We both had the best hunting season of our lives, and I think we are each more excited for the other.
GON’s Official Warren County Bow Rankings
Rank Score Name Year County Method Photo 1 137 O.J. Greene III 2019 Warren Bow View 2 135 6/8 Gunn Stewart 2010 Warren Bow View 3 135 4/8 Gunn Stewart 2019 Warren Bow View 4 133 2/8 Ralph Owen 1991 Warren Bow 5 129 3/8 Jonathan Megel 2000 Warren Bow 6 128 2/8 Fred Hall 2011 Warren Bow 7 128 1/8 Nick Milburn 2017 Warren Bow View 8 122 2/8 Larry Haire Jr. 1995 Warren Bow 9 121 3/8 Gunn Stewart 2014 Warren Bow 10 116 3/8 Rick Crumbley 1996 Warren Bow
Submit Your Hunt Story To Hunter’s Journal
Hunt stories should be close to 1,200 words and contain at least one photo at least 2 MB in size. To submit Hunter’s Journal stories and photos, e-mail to [email protected] or mail to: GON Hunter’s Journal,4331 Seven Islands Road, Madison, GA 30650.