The Right Way

A hunter’s long pursuit for “Drops” ended when a neighbor killed the buck on his first sit. It’s a story of shared celebration, and a positive lesson for all deer hunters.

Clae Mathis | December 30, 2023

Wesley Tyus with a beautiful Harris County buck that had matching drop tines.

Romans 12:15 says to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

It seems like a pretty simple concept to rejoice with people who rejoice, but there are certain instances in deer hunting that can make it difficult. One main example of that would be watching the neighbor kill a big buck that you were hunting. Trail cameras are a wonderful tool for us hunters. They let us know what deer we have the chance to hunt on our property, but that doesn’t mean they always stay there.

One thing all hunters have to accept, however, is that the neighbors probably have the same buck on their cameras, as well. This means there is a chance that no matter how regular that deer was on your property or how many pictures you had of them, the neighbor could still kill them.

It is no secret that the culture of deer hunting is not always a positive one. It should be positive, no doubt, but I have seen friendships end, families break up, and many hateful words spoken all because of a buck someone killed. There are tons of social media groups about hunting, especially here in Georgia; and they have not always been a friendly and welcoming place. Something about hunting makes people want to tell you how they do it, why the way you do it is wrong, or that the buck you shot should have gotten another year. When someone kills a nice buck, many times, instead of a congratulations, you’ll even see comments like “must be nice” or “high fence” or “real hunters don’t use bait.” Sadly this has become very common here in Georgia, and we have all seen it get worse with the presence of social media. This particular story, though, is much different.

This story starts with Tyler Jordan. Tyler doesn’t need any introduction. His father Bill Jordan started Realtree, which is probably not news to anyone reading this. Realtree has been a strong supporter of the GON community since day one. The Realtree name is one of, if not the most recognizable names in the hunting industry.

Tyler has recently become the face of the company as he has been creating incredible content on digital platforms in recent years. Many of these videos have shown him take unbelievable bucks. Most impressively he has taken some incredible free-range Georgia bucks.

Tyler Jordan with his biggest bow buck ever, killed right here in Georgia. The Harris County buck from the 2021 season netted 178 7/8 non-typical.

This story itself is very personal for me as Realtree has made a huge impression on my life in particular. That impression has led me to dream of having my own hunting show one day. That’s how I’ve gotten to this point of filming hunts and creating my own content while trying my best to model them after the Realtree Monster Bucks series that my daddy and I have watched together since the beginning.

Anyway, Tyler has had an incredible run in Georgia the past few years. Two years ago he killed the biggest buck he’s ever killed with a bow, and he got it in Georgia. This is crazy, since he’s been able to hunt every big-buck state this country has to offer. That says a lot about the quality of deer and the management plan that is in place on his property and even the neighboring properties.

This year on the second day of the season, he killed a phenomenal buck that he had named “Big Heavy.” This sets the stage for his next 30 or so hunts because he was now after a buck that would be any hunter’s dream. This buck was a 185-inch buck with double drop tines that suitably was named “Drops.”

The story for Drops starts on June 30 of this year. Outdoor writer Jim Bequette was in town at Realtree Farms to film some content with Bill Jordan and David Blanton. Tyler was going to drive him around the farm just to show him around. He drove him to a northern part of their farm where they don’t hunt very often or have cameras or anything. Bill had planted a dove field up in that area, so they went to check it out. That was the first time Tyler saw Drops. They rode up on the buck in that dove field. And as the buck was running away, Tyler was able to see both drop tines. Literally the next day, he put out a trail camera in the area and got Drops on it for the first time that night.

So it begins…

Tyler sat on this buck around 30 times with the same result most every hunt. Drops would show up 20 to 30 minutes after dark. Tyler doesn’t believe that it is because he knew they were there and hunting him; the buck just had to cross a road with a lot of traffic on it, and most likely waited to cross it after dark. This road is what really worried Tyler the most. In mid-October the fear almost became reality when one of Tyler’s friends was leaving Realtree Farms and almost hit Drops as the buck was running across the road.

We are all familiar with this nocturnal type of chase if we hunt in Georgia. The only difference is that it’s not usually a chase on a buck like this. The only daylight pictures that Tyler ever got of Drops were while he was elk hunting in Wyoming. After that happened, Tyler even canceled deer-hunting trips to other states just to stay in Georgia and hunt Drops.

The closer it got to November, the more exciting the chase became. Like most of us, Tyler knew the rut could definitely bring him in earlier in the day. This realization also comes with the harsh truth that this buck may also go onto someone else’s property during daylight while they’re hunting.

Insert Wesley Tyus into this story…

Wesley is the owner of Tyus Insurance Group in Manchester, and he hunts a property right across the road from Tyler and the Realtree family. Wesley has been hunting this property about five years. It is a friend’s property. He has shown his friend and his friend’s kids, along with his own kids, everything he’s known about hunting and how to properly manage a hunting property. Wesley’s biggest buck of his life was 130 inches before Nov. 1 of this season.

His son Cam actually killed a 140-inch buck on an incredible hunt a few years ago. Wesley and Cam were sitting together. Wesley had his bow and Cam had his rifle. Wesley had to get down early to go handle a Zoom call meeting for work. While he was sitting there on Zoom on his tailgate, he heard the shot. Cam had shot a monster buck and the celebration began.

Wesley Tyus and his son Cam with the buck Cam killed several seasons ago after Wesley climbed out of the stand to take a work call back at the truck.

Needless to say, Wesley has been like the most of us in the rural, country areas of Georgia, and the 130- to 140-inch range was the biggest deer he or his family had ever been able to harvest. Those are incredible deer, and in Georgia they are particularly special.

Anyway, Wesley began running cameras in August and never had Drops on camera during the summer or early season. During bow season through October, Wesley didn’t hunt much, waiting on the weather to get right and the deer on his property to get fired up. On the night of Oct. 30, everything in his season, and eventually his life, changed. He got his first picture of Drops. Drops was there again on Oct 31. This is where the story starts to come together.

While trick-or-treating Halloween night, longtime Realtree producer and friend Daniel Thomas was talking to his son Charlie. Charlie has a friend who loves the Realtree Road Trips video series. The boys are also friends with Wesley Tyus’s youngest son Cade. Cade sent a picture of Drops to a friend who immediately knew which buck it was because he had seen him on Realtree Road Trips. Daniel’s son Charlie told him about that, and the news spread all the way to Tyler Jordan. Daniel wound up calling Wesley, to which Wesley answered, “How’d you know?!”

They talked about if Wesley was able to kill this certain deer that he’d let them know, so they could all close the book on this buck together.

A trail-camera picture of Drops early in the morning on the day Wesley was able to harvest the incredible buck.

Nov. 1 was on paper the best hunting day of the year. There had been an early frost down to middle Georgia that morning, and this was the first time the calendar, the weather and the moon all matched up. This meant that some big bucks should be on their feet during daylight. Wesley had decided this was the first time he would go sit to try to get a shot at Drops. He had a perfect north wind, and he also washed all his clothes in scentless detergent. He was ready to go.

He grabbed his bow and was headed out the door, but he stopped. He decided that he was going to take his rifle along just in case he saw the buck out of bow range. Wesley has strictly bowhunted for the last 20-plus years and has only taken a rifle once. 

Welsey got in his stand and soon saw a doe walking through early in the hunt. Things settled, and he decided to do a short rattling sequence. Around 6:15 p.m., he saw some legs and a belly walking through the timber. He grabbed his binoculars and found the deer walking. He was able to see a rack, and when the buck turned his head, he saw the drop tine. Drops was 80 yards quartering away. The buck turned its head, so Wesley picked his rifle up and settled the crosshairs on him. He squeezed the trigger and immediately started shaking uncontrollably. He kept looking for movement and panicked a little when he saw a deer walking. He was able to identify it as a young buck, so he was able to calm back down.

Wesley says he’d like to say he waited eight entire minutes to get down and look, but he thinks it was probably more like 5. He walked to where Drops had been standing. He spent a few minutes looking for blood, but he couldn’t find any. Wesley started walking toward where he thought he had run. There, 40 yards in front of him, was Drops lying on the ground.

The view of Drops that Wesley saw when he first walked up on the buck.

Across the road, Tyler and Daniel had heard the shot, and somehow they knew who it was. Daniel texted and asked if it was Drops. Wesley confirmed. Before Wesley had even walked the 40 yards to Drops, he got a call from Tyler. They talked and decided that Tyler would come over and recover Drops with Wesley. Wesley sat down on a log pretty close to Drops, and just sat and soaked in the moment. He thanked God for an incredible hunt and an incredible deer. It only took a few minutes for Tyler  to arrive. He celebrated an incredible Georgia buck with Wesley.

This story has so many lessons within it. The first lesson here is that you never know what is on your property, and you’ve got to get out there to know. Tyler would never have hunted this area if he hadn’t been riding someone around a rarely hunted part of his property and saw the buck. Neither hunter had this buck on camera before this year, so no one even knew this buck. You’ve got to get out there to see what’s there!

The second hard lesson to learn is that no deer belongs to us. Daniel says that his son Charlie said, “Man, Tyler’s deer got shot.” Daniel had to tell him in an awesome teachable moment that we don’t own these deer. These deer are wild animals, and it is a privilege to get to chase them the way that we do, especially a deer like this.

Another lesson is that you are always in the fight for these deer. Many of us in Georgia hunt 100 acres or less. Many times there are neighbors with much more land than we have. In this case, Wesley’s neighbors have some of the most well-managed, famous land in the state. Wesley got pictures of the buck for two days and harvested him on the third day. We always have a chance; we just have to go.

The last and definitely the most important lesson to learn is to be good to others—that includes your neighbors hunting the same deer you are. Jesus commanded us to love one another. Tyler Jordan modeled a true Christian love for others in the way he responded to this. Tyler hunted this deer more than 30 times to Wesley’s one hunt. Tyler had pictures of this buck for over 90 days and Wesley had him for two days. Tyler could easily have gotten angry, but instead, he joined in the celebration with Wesley.

The same can be said of Wesley. Wesley got this buck on camera and could’ve easily kept that to himself. Once he learned that the neighbors knew about him having Drops on camera, he had no obligation to talk to them about the buck. He also definitely did not have to allow them to be a part of the recovery. This story involved two Christian men acting like two Christian men should. No jealousy, no hatefulness, and nothing but good and positive words were spoken between them.

Romans 12:15 says that we should “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Tyler most definitely rejoiced with Wesley while he was rejoicing; and although Tyler wasn’t weeping, who could blame him if he was? Wesley was definitely a comfort with the grace and humility with which he handled the situation.

This story has been a huge encouragement to me. I have been scared to death of the bucks I’m hunting this year getting taken by someone else. I have put a lot into hunting them. I pray that I can handle the situations, no matter how they end, like these two men did.

I pray the deer hunting culture in Georgia can begin to improve because people handle these situations as these men did.

Tyler Jordan and Wesley Tyus shared in the celebration of this awesome Georgia buck.

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  1. Andrew Curtis on December 30, 2023 at 9:24 am

    Excellent article, Clae! This is one I want to save and reread every year. Such profound lessons here. Thank you for being a strong Christian inspiration to the GON community.

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