200-Inch Southwest Georgia 17-Pointer
This buck never shed and never came out of velvet, it just grew and grew. And grew!
A monster Georgia buck has been killed, a 17-pointer with crazy thick mass and tines that look more like tree branches than antler points—including one growing out of its cheek right behind its eye.
Clay Crawford has known about this buck since 2017 when he started getting trail-camera photos of the deer on the Early County family farm he hunts. Clay said the buck stayed close, but that didn’t mean he was easy to kill.
“I’ve always been picky about what deer I kill, but I would have killed that buck in 2017 if I had gotten a chance,” Clay said. “He stayed in that one area.”
It didn’t happen during the 2017 season, and in 2018 deer hunting was the last thing on the minds of people in southwest Georgia. Hurricane Michael was still a strong Category 3 storm with 115 mph sustained winds when it slammed through Early County and the town of Blakely.
“I was busy helping others clean up from the storm and didn’t put cameras out or get to go deer hunting,” Clay said. “After Thanksgiving this year, I decided to put my camera back out on this tract of land.”
The buck was back.
“He was just giant. He had grown tremendously in two years,” Clay said.
He was also still in velvet, just like he was all through the 2017 season. This buck never shed its velvet, and it apparently also never shed its antlers. Clay’s neighbor and friend is Toby Warr, a good deer hunter who has been in GON and the Truck-Buck Contest several times. He saw the buck after it was killed, and he said the buck had male parts, but there wasn’t anything going on in the sack. He likely wasn’t producing testosterone, whether from injury or just born that way.
“On Sunday Dec 8, I put out a new Double Bull ground blind,” Clay said. “All week I had been waiting for the wind to change out of the north.”
The wind was right on Wednesday, but Clay couldn’t hunt because of a kid’s school function. It was again out of the north on Thursday, but Clay and his wife had a Christmas party to go to.
“I told her I had to hunt, we might be late to the party, but I had to go.”
It was overcast and a light rain was falling.
“I was running late and got in the blind at 4:45 p.m. About 5:25, a spike walked out and fed for 15 minutes and left out the back of the shooting lane. It was getting hard to see because of the weather conditions. Not long after the spike left, I saw some deer movement about 100 yards away. I looked through my scope, and my heart stopped!”
It was the giant velvet buck, but he was coming straight down the shooting lane toward Clay, and taking his time about it.
“I was not going to take a straight-on shot, I just wasn’t,” Clay said. “Meanwhile I’m watching this buck for like 10 minutes.”
Another deer walked out at the back of the shooting lane, and the big buck turned to look back. Clay had his shot, and he squeezed the trigger on his .243. He stayed in the blind for about 10 minutes, but the rain was picking up. He walked down the lane to where the buck had been standing and found some brown hair, but no blood.
“By then it was flooding rain. I just had my cell phone light, and I looked off the edge of the shooting lane a little bit, but I didn’t want to jump him. I just decided I’d play it safe and come back and find him in the morning. We went to the Christmas party, and I’m doubting myself all night. I didn’t tell anyone about the buck except for my wife.”
It rained more than 2 inches overnight. The next morning Clay spent about 20 minutes searching the woods to the side of the lane the buck was facing when he shot.
“I decided to make a loop on the left side of the lane. I walked about 20 yards and saw something unusual. It was the deer. It had been covered up with leaves by a bobcat. The only thing exposed was his rack. The bobcat had eaten the back ham of the deer before covering him up.The deer had obviously run the opposite direction he was facing. He only ran about 40 yards. The flash from the gun must have blinded me.”
The 17-point rack is a main-frame 5×5, there’s nothing typical about it. The abnormal points grow widely, including a 10-inch point that’s growing out of the buck’s face just behind its eye. It been roughly green-scored at around 205 inches, but who knows how or what this buck will tally when certified scorers look at it after the 60-day drying period. And who cares about score—Clay Crawford’d velvet giant from Early County is as unique and awesome as they come. (Update: The rack was officially scored by B&C measurers at 183 1/8 net non-typical after deductions.)
GON’s Early County All-Time Deer Records
Rank Score Name Year County Method Photo 1 164 3/8 Thomas Arline 1996 Early Gun 2 164 2/8 Denny Morgan 1990 Early Gun 3 163 Justin Scarborough 2008 Early Gun View 4 160 2/8 Todd Bell 1985 Early Gun 5 183 1/8 (NT) Clay Crawford 2019 Early Gun View 6 177 4/8 (NT) Clay Hobbs 1992 Early Gun 7 151 4/8 Toby Warr 2011 Early Gun View 8 149 7/8 Shane Saunders 2001 Early Gun 9 148 7/8 Billy Fleming 1988 Early Gun 10 148 4/8 Eddie Hudspeth 1993 Early Found
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