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Best Georgia Counties For Big Bucks 2019

GON's system gives every county in Georgia a rating for big-buck production over the past 10 years.

Daryl Kirby | September 26, 2019

The Top-4 Georgia counties for big bucks remained the same as last season. Worth County is still No. 1 based on the big bucks it has produced in the past 10 years, followed by Lee, Dougherty and Macon counties.

There was some movement for the next grouping. Pulaski County came in at No. 5 in the 2018 rankings. This year Pulaski’s score barely changed, but it was jumped in the rankings list by Fulton County at No. 5, then Harris, Brooks and Morgan counties. Those counties all saw bumps in their scores, enough to pass Pulaski, which is No. 9 this year, tied with Meriwether County for that spot.

Here’s a buck from 2016 to show that any Georgia county can produce a remarkable buck, regardless of its history. Charlton County may rank near the bottom on the Big-Buck Production rankings, but lightening struck there for Greg Boatright, of Patterson, when he killed this Charlton buck on Oct. 22, 2016. The monster netted 149 2/8 and grossed 160 inches.

Something new for this year’s analysis was a comparison of this year’s Big-Buck Production ratings versus how counties were doing 10 years ago. Typically, we do a year-to-year comparison, but for this article we wanted to crunch the numbers to see which counties have made big moves up and down since 2009.

On the upside, Tift County has surged in the past 10 years, jumping from the No. 87 county in the state for big-buck production to No. 19. Tift’s overall score this year is 258% higher than its score in 2009. There’s also an interesting improvement in the northeast Georgia counties. Jackson, Hart, Oglethorpe and Elbert counties are all among the Top-10 Counties Moving Up when comparing this year’s scores with the scores of 2009.

On the flip side, what happened in Clayton County? Clayton was long a bowhunting hotspot for big bucks—and it still may be in some pockets—but high-scoring bucks haven’t been showing up from Clayton in the past 10 years. Clayton County went from No. 35 in the state to No. 144 out of 159 counties, and its score dropped 886% since 2009.

GON crunched the numbers to see which Georgia counties have had the biggest increase ing big-buck production from 10 years ago.

GON keeps and compiles a huge database of Georgia bucks that have been measured by certified scorers, which makes these county rankings possible. Our system gives each county a Big-Buck Production rating based on official net scores of bucks killed in a 10-year window. A county’s big-buck score will drop from one year to the next if there are more bucks from 11 years ago falling out of the equation than new bucks being added in the past year.

 

Our system also factors in the size of a county into the equation. We get the raw score based on officially scored bucks in the past 10 years. Then a county’s score goes up or down based on a county’s size in comparison to the average size of Georgia’s 159 counties.

So why are some counties producing more high-scoring bucks, year after year? The path to growing big bucks is no secret. A buck needs quality dirt, which naturally provides good nutrition. The deer needs genetic potential, and the deer needs age. Mostly it needs age. Counties with fertile soils produce excellent natural foods and agricultural crops. Supplemental feeding with high-protein feed and providing mineral supplements can also increase antler growth. But the natural fertility of the soil and the quality of natural foods has to be a key factor.

If you kill a good buck this season, contact GON. Call (800) 438-4663, or email [email protected]. And if you are a GON subscriber, enter it in the Truck-Buck contest.

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