170+ Buck Ends Amazing Season For Young Lady
Morgan Rae Walker, 12, killed two Georgia whitetails this year with a combined 310 inches of antler
Patience and hard work are the keys to success, and Morgan Rae Walker, of Dodge County, just showed her resolve and determination when she finally scored on a huge, 12-point Dodge County buck that green scored 173 inches. Oh, did I mention that Morgan Rae is only 12 years old!
Morgan Rae is blessed to be raised in an outdoor family, where her father Jack is an avid outdoorsman and involved in the timber industry, where he grows, manages and harvests timber all over central Georgia with his company, Walker Forest Resources, out of McRae. Jack says he gets great enjoyment out of bringing up his girls, Morgan Rae and Mason, 9, in the outdoor life where they get together to hunt and fish on a frequent basis. Their home farm is 486 acres, and that’s where they do most of their hunting.
Morgan Rae started hunting with her dad as soon as she could hold up a rifle and saw her first buck, a 3-pointer, when she was 7 years old, but Morgan Rae and Jack decided to let it walk. But later in the same season, Morgan Rae was able to harvest two nice bucks, so her passion for mature bucks was paying off. Since then, they have continued to let the bucks grow and mature whenever possible. Prior to this year’s monster buck, Morgan Rae has dropped several bucks, including a 10-pointer that scored 135 that she nailed with a AR-15 .223 caliber.
Back during the 2022 season, they spotted a very nice 10-pointer on trail cams that Jack estimated would score in the 150 range. He was healthy and Jack thought he had the potential to be something really special, so they passed up a chance to shoot the buck and even asked a neighbor, who also liked to harvest mature bucks, to let the buck walk one more year, and he agreed. Morgan Rae named the big buck “No No,” to mean that he wasn’t going to be harvested until next year, if they were ever so lucky for that to happen. As there were plenty of other hunting tracts in the area and the opportunity for a mature buck to survive from year to year is always an iffy proposition.
Morgan Rae and Jack spotted the buck on trail cams during the winter of 2022, so they were thankful he had lived through the hunting season. The buck showed up on other cameras until March 2023, and then he just disappeared during the summer, said Jack. Still hopeful that the buck would show back up, Morgan Rae and Jack set up and planted a food plot in a critical location near the buck’s 40- to 50-acre core area. They got lucky on opening day and Morgan Rae dropped a beautiful 8-pointer that green scored 143 inches, so the 2023- 24 season got off to a great start!
It was not the No No buck, but a short while later, he started showing up on trail cams. Jack uses both photo cameras and Spartan cellphone cameras with the extended antenna to help ensure better reception. He says the cameras really help him to understand the wildlife that is using his land and adds to the overall enjoyment of the outdoors.
On Halloween night, they got another photo of No No, and then from Nov. 1-4, he disappeared. Soon thereafter, while they were hunting, they heard a shot from a nearby property. Thinking the worst, Morgan Rae and Jack worried that the huge buck had been dropped. However, conversations with neighbors indicated that the deer killed was a nice 8-pointer, and the hunt was still on!
Then on Nov. 5, they spotted No No on camera again and started to hunt around the outside perimeter of his core area. Morgan Rae and Jack hunted at every opportunity in mid-November, but No No remained elusive, like a ghost in the woods. On the day after Thanksgiving, they set up on a food plot, and as the morning sky lightened up, a couple of does eased into the area, followed by No No. The day of reckoning was at hand!
Morgan Rae had almost dozed off and thought she was dreaming when Jack excitedly said, “There he is!” Morgan Rae roused up and quickly realized that No No was standing right out in front of her with his attention on the does. Would her prayers about this buck be realized?
She quietly raised her 6.5 Creedmoor rifle and found the buck’s core area in the scope and eased into the trigger. The buck jumped at the shot and rushed into the woods, and Jack said, “You did it baby, you got him!” Morgan Rae was beyond happy as she and Jack high-fived each other and hugged in celebration as a lot of hard work and dedication to harvest No No came together in a few brief seconds.
After calming down, they both realized that they needed to wait a few minutes to give the buck time to expire, but after Jack made several phone calls to close friends, letting them know that No No had become a Yes Yes for a trigger pull by Morgan Rae at 7:10 a.m.
Morgan Rae said the buck only ran off about 100 yards, and he was everything she had dreamed of. The 12-point buck green scored 173 2/8 inches, and the live weight was 174 pounds. The buck was delivered to Nathan Padgett at South Georgia Taxidermy (229.860.1102) for mounting, so soon Morgan Rae will have the beautiful buck to display in her home and relive the quest for No No every time she looks at it.
Dodge County Best Bucks Of All-Time
Rank Score Name Year County Method Photo 1 173 1/8 Paul Smith 1993 Dodge Gun View 2 169 1/8 Tony McCranie 2005 Dodge Gun View 3 166 1/8 Sam Little 2013 Dodge Gun View 4 186 6/8 (NT) Todd Thompson 1985 Dodge Gun View 5 161 7/8 Alan May 1986 Dodge Gun 6 161 1/8 Michael Smith 2014 Dodge Gun View 7 160 5/8 David Devereaux 2007 Dodge Gun 8 160 Jay Mullis 1984 Dodge Gun 9 159 6/8 Derek Taylor 1990 Dodge Gun 10 180 2/8 (NT) Heath Burch 2006 Dodge Gun View
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