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Georgia’s Best Bow Bucks For 2017-18 Season

53 new archery-killed bucks qualify for GON’s exclusive Georgia’s Best Bow Bucks list.

Brad Gill | September 8, 2018

Georgia seems to be in a rut, of sorts, when it comes to the number of record-class bow-killed deer that are being taken each season. Last year’s 53 bucks sits right on average when you consider that since the 2013 season, bow-kills have averaged 53.8 deer per year.

For the 2007-2012 seasons, bowhunters averaged 69.3 record-caliber deer per year.

While the current numbers are bland, there is some downright impressive news to report. I can’t recall Georgia ever having a season when two hunters killed the top-4 bow bucks in the state during a single season.

Lee Ellis, of Atlanta, and his buck Zeus, sit on top of GON’s Georgia’s Best Bow Bucks list for 2017-18 season. Lee’s 193 7/8-inch (99.4 percent when divided by the non-typical B&C minimum of 195) Fulton County non-typical buck was arrowed on Nov. 16.

Zeus was killed in the northern suburbs of Atlanta where for at least the past four years, his range encompassed nearly 2 square miles. Numerous hunters knew about this deer, numerous hunters had been after him for the past few seasons, and numerous trail-camera photos were taken of the deer.

Lee works hard at hunting suburban whitetails and has a number of properties where he has permission to hunt. Beginning on Nov. 6, Lee hunted Zeus morning and afternoon in an area where recent trail-camera photos revealed the deer to be spending much time. Realizing the deer had vacated that area, Lee pulled all eight of his cell cameras and put them out in eight new locations where he had permission within a 2-square-mile area.

“He was incredibly sporadic and was showing up on all of the cameras randomly,” Lee said. “I keyed in on the most central spot, where he was traveling through a pine thicket that always held a bunch of does. Drew (cameraman) and I sat there Nov. 13, 14 and 15 both morning and evening. On the morning of Nov. 16, we had an encounter with him before shooting light, and he walked away after a doe. Then, on the evening of the 16th, he came cruising by us looking for does right before dark.”

Lee made a lethal shot. He and Drew recovered Zeus that evening.

Lee Ellis, with ‘Zeus’

“We conservatively calculated that in three years of pursuing Zeus, it took a total of around 500 hours to kill him,” Lee said. “That time was invested in off-season homework, running cameras, tending food plots, getting permission, and finally, many hours in a stand actually hunting him.”

As is the case with many giant deer that get killed, there was controversy regarding Zeus being a neighbor’s “pet” deer. However, GON published the full and accurate story of this special buck at www.gon.com. Just search for “Zeus.”

As if that feat wasn’t impressive enough, 11 days prior to killing Zeus, Lee connected with a 153 7/8-inch (90.5 percent when divided by the typical B&C minimum of 170) typical whitetail that ended up being the No. 3 best overall bow deer taken in the state last year. It was also the No. 2 best typical bow buck taken last year.

Lee now has four Georgia Pope & Young bucks under his belt, three from Fulton County and one from Cobb County.

The No. 2 overall best bow buck—and the No. 1 best typical buck—taken last year was killed by bowhunter Glenn Garner, of Pine Mountain.

Glenn Garner

Glenn’s 161 7/8-inch (95.2 percent) Harris County buck is the No. 9 best-ever typical bow buck ever taken in the state of Georgia.

About 2 1/2 weeks earlier, Glenn connected on a buck that later scored 152 6/8 inches (89.9 percent) and was the No. 4 best buck taken last year.

Glenn is no stranger to big bucks with a bow. He’s got 10 record bucks under his belt, and six were taken in Harris County.

If you arrow a big buck this fall, and you’re a GON subscriber, enter it in the Truck-Buck contest. The buck will be officially scored through the contest and will be included in all the appropriate GON rankings lists.

If you’re not a subscriber, we still want you to know about your buck. Call GON at (800) 438-4663. When the 60-day drying period is up, we’ll put you in contact with an official measurer and add your buck to our rankings.

Become a GON subscriber and enjoy full access to ALL of our content.

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