Bowhunter Wins Chess Match For Record-Class Coastal Buck
Scott Owens hesitates to say that it was a buck that haunted his every thought, but the St. Simons Island boat captain admits that he has never hunted so hard for a fish or a deer.
“I went to bed thinking about this deer and I woke up in the mornings thinking about this deer,” the Brunswick resident said. “Me and this deer played a serious game of chess.”
It was a game of chess that Scott recently won. The 10-point buck fell to his arrow. Scott is awaiting scoring to find out whether it is the largest bow-taken buck ever taken in Wayne County.
“GON says the largest bow buck in Wayne County measured 129 inches,” he said. “I think mine is bigger. Mine rough-scored 130 inches and some change. That’s a solid deer down here on the coast.”
Scott had the deer on camera for two years. He was an 8-point last season, but he blossomed into a 10-point this year. The buck never appeared on camera during the daylight hours, but he was unmistakable in the night photos. The buck had a damaged right ear that Scott believes was probably the result of an encounter with a coyote. The buck’s right ear would not stand up. Scott’s wife nicknamed him “Floppy.”
“I thought I had figured him out and knew his bedding spot and the path he took to go feed,” he said. “I put my stands up in those areas.
“That’s when he just disappeared off the cameras for five days. We were getting a cool wind out of the northeast, and I just quit seeing bucks altogether.”
Scott thought maybe this old buck was winning the game of chess.
“My buddy sent me three pictures off his cameras,” he said. “The buck was still on the property we hunt, but he had moved across the road and down a little bit.”
Scott was frustrated. He had already let a nice 8-point walk twice. He decided that he would take it if he should it present itself again. Five days after he last saw “Floppy” on camera and five days after hunting the area, he returned.
“It was raining when I walked in,” he said. “It wasn’t a light rain, but it wasn’t a real heavy rain, either. There were just some really big raindrops falling. I think that covered the noise of me walking in. In fact, I walked right up on a coyote. I thought that was probably why the big buck left. I was able to get a full-draw on the coyote before he saw me and scooted off.”
Scott says he had been in his stand 45 minutes to an hour when he heard thunder in the distance. A look at the radar on his cell phone showed a bad storm with lightning coming his way.
“It eventually got close to where I was and I watched a downpour,” he said. “It blew me around a little bit in the tree, but it passed.”
Shortly thereafter, Scott heard a shot on another piece of property and thought might be a good sign. He looked at the time and it was 6:24 p.m.
Seconds later, he saw movement. He figured it may be the nice 8-point that he had twice let walk.
“When he came around the corner, I saw that flopping ear and my heart had never pounded that hard,” he said. “He kept walking toward me left to right, but I couldn’t get a shot. I was trying to be quiet. All of a sudden, he stopped and put his nose up. I think he winded me. He took two steps back, but for some reason, he did a 180 and stepped perfectly in a 4- to 5-foot gap between two trees. He was quartering, and the 34-yard shot clipped the ham and it went into the chest cavity.”
Scott looked at his watch and it read 6:26. He texted his friend with the message “I shot him.”
Scott sat in the tree for an hour and his friend eventually came to his stand. They went looking for blood, but they couldn’t find any.
“I told my buddy that I heard the arrow hit and I saw it hit,” he said. “I was thinking that they were going to have to put me in a mental hospital if I couldn’t find the deer.”
The two hunters decided to go to the friend’s house to get some spray that makes blood glow in the dark. There, the friend said he knew a guy in Douglas County that had a blood tracking dog. They decided to call him.
“The guy’s name was Cody Wise, and he told us to not go into the woods or to spray anything in the woods until he got there.”
Cody arrived at about 10 p.m. with his dog, Blue.
“We talked about money and I thought it was very reasonable,” Scott said. “The dog started tracking and after about 50 yards, the guy said that I may have wasted my money. There hadn’t been any blood up to that point, but there it looked like somebody had dumped 5-gallon buckets of blood.
“The dog eventually found the deer dead 168 yards from where I shot.”
The buck was a typical 10-point and it weighed 153 pounds.
Wayne County All-Time Record Bucks
Rank Score Name Year County Method Photo 1 151 4/8 Charlie Brown 1998 Wayne Gun 2 146 1/8 James Hyers 2005 Wayne Gun 3 141 George Moxley 2007 Wayne Gun View 4 139 7/8 Steven Long 2012 Wayne Gun 5 138 4/8 Lindsay Thomas Jr. 2004 Wayne Gun View 6 138 4/8 Lindsay Thomas Sr. 2019 Wayne Gun 7 137 4/8 Danny Wingate 2009 Wayne Gun 8 137 Tina Murphy 2001 Wayne Gun 9 136 5/8 Jeremy Godwin 2018 Wayne Gun View 10 133 2/8 Steven Long 1995 Wayne Gun
Wayne County All-Time Record Bow-Bucks
Rank Score Name Year County Method Photo 1 129 Mickey Whittington 2001 Wayne Bow 2 114 7/8 Doug Miller 2006 Wayne Bow 3 111 3/8 Brandon Collins 2006 Wayne Bow View 4 104 4/8 Bruce Grant 1996 Wayne Bow
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