Bartow Boss Is County Top-5 Caliber Buck

Joe Slye | November 20, 2023

Joe Slye’s Bartow County buck could push Top-5 status all-time for the county once it is officially scored. Joe shot the buck from the ground at 60 yards.

I’ve lived in Bartow County my whole life and started hunting when I was 11 years old. My dad introduced me to the outdoors, and it’s been a lifestyle ever since. Over the years this lifestyle has taken me all over the country, as well as Canada and Mexico, chasing whitetail, bear, mule deer and turkey. All of my hunts are documented through the camera lens and shared with fellow hunters by watching it on TV on the Hunt Channel the last eight years or on YouTube.

It’s been an amazing ride and continues to be. All that said there is something very special to harvest such a deer in my home state but even more special to harvest a deer of this caliber in my county I live in and where it all began! Bartow County is filled with passionate deer hunters with really good opportunities to harvest nice deer. There isn’t an acre of land not hunted, and with baiting and long rifle seasons, it’s competitive to say the least on mature deer. I’ve been hunting for 30 years and to cross paths with such a whitetail I am so humbled and grateful for the opportunity.

The hunt started for the deer as I acquired hunting rights to a small tract of land. I set out Muddy cell cameras, and this really big buck showed up with three days left in the 2021-2022 season. I hunted him daylight until dark all three days, but he was a no-show. Fast forward to the summer 2023. I went all in and strategically set up a feeder and cell camera with intention to get this buck on camera. You can watch the video on YouTube at 8Up Nation TV. After about four days, all the scouting paid off. He was the first deer to show up to the Boss Buck feeder, so naturally I named him Boss.

He read the script almost every day in daylight all the way up to the night before opening day of archery season. Opening day came and went. This buck wouldn’t daylight again but one time in nearly two months. Due to other hunters hunting him as well, I knew pressure on such a mature animal would be a factor, but I had no clue how nocturnal he would be.

Oct. 28 will be a day I never forget. I got off shift from the fire station and drove over to the property, really to fill up the feeder and get ready for a cold front that was to hit a few days later. It was well after daylight, but I slipped into the woods anyway to sit for awhile. Boss appeared—and almost seemed to have floated into my crosshairs. I couldn’t believe it was the first time I’d had ever laid eyes on him and only the second time to my knowledge he had day-lighted in nearly three months! Within 30 minutes of slipping in the woods, Boss was on the ground. I heard him crash 40 yards away. I walked right to him and just sat there beside him for a moment. Thirty years of hunting and harvesting a buck I travel all over for in hopes of harvesting was laying beside me. Emotions ran high as I called my wife first like I have on every buck, and then I called my dad. He later came to help me get the deer out and loaded up. I could have called a whole group of guys to come help that I knew would have been there in seconds, but this one needed to be shared by my dad and I. It was such a special moment and memory made, and to do it in the same county where it all started for me with the man who introduced me to hunting will forever be special to me.

We will see after a 60-day drying period where he falls in the record books. There are a lot of bucks that get harvested in Bartow every year. To potentially be in the Top 5 all-time will be pretty cool but still second to the memory made with my dad getting him out of the woods.

Joe’s hunts can be viewed on YouTube at 8Up Nation TV.


Bartow County Best Bucks Of All-Time

1151 5/8 George Brock1990BartowGun
2148 7/8 Steve Franklin1987BartowGun
3147 6/8 Stanley Manus1989BartowGunView 
4147 3/8 Joe Slye2023BartowGunView 
5167 1/8 (NT)Kenny Lowery2018BartowGunView 
6145 2/8 Brian Ezell2016BartowGunView 
7144 3/8 Lavan McDaniel1994BartowGun
8144 2/8 Tim Burns2021BartowGunView 
9144 Byron Young2018BartowGunView 
10142 4/8 Randy Huskins2013BartowGunView 

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