“Gillispie Buck” Is Georgia’s Muzzleloader Record

Bought at a flea marker last summer for $40, it turns out the state-record muzzleloader mount was earlier stolen from Bob Gillespie’s home.

GON Staff | March 9, 2005

In the December, 2004 issue of GON, outdoor writer Duncan Dobie brought us the story and mystery surrounding the Gillespie buck, Georgia’s state-record muzzleloader buck.

On November 5, 1978, Bob Gillespie shot an amazing buck in Wilkes County with a CVA .45-caliber muzzleloader he had recently built from a kit. The non-typical rack netted 216 2/8 points, was the best buck taken in Georgia that year, and it still ranks as the best-ever killed with a muzzleloader in Georgia.

The story picks up again last summer, when Darrin Russell of Auburn was browsing through the vast array of garage-sale merchandise at the J and J Flea Market off Hwy 441 north of Athens. A huge set of antlers caught his eye, and Darrin bought the antlers for $40. A few months later Darrin saw a picture in GON of Bob Gillespie holding his mount and realized it was the same, unique rack. At the time Duncan wrote his story, nobody could locate Bob Gillespie, and it was even speculated that he might have died.

A photo taken by outdoor writer Duncan Dobie in the 70s clearly shows that the unique rack that Darrin bought at a flea market is the Bob Gillespie buck. Bob Gillespie killed this incredible buck with a muzzleloader while hunting in Wilkes County in 1978. With a non-typical score of 216 2/8, it is the long-standing state-record muzzleloader buck for Georgia. The rack was stolen from Bob’s Dahlonega home during a burglary July 30, 2003.

We are happy to report that Bob Gillespie is very much alive and living near Dahlonega. We are unhappy to report that the mount of his state-record muzzleloader buck was stolen along with other items during a burglary at his Dahlonega home in July of 2003, about a year before it showed up at the flea market.

The newest chapter of this saga is still being written. Richard Gillespie, Bob’s son, said they are trying to get the rack returned and have offered to pay Darrin Russell his expense of having the rack remounted.

“We just want the rack back,” Richard said. “It means a lot to dad.”

Richard said that initially Darrin said he would return the rack, but at presstime several weeks had passed when phone calls were not returned. GON also left messages, but calls were not returned.

Darrin Russell, of Auburn, Ga., was visiting a flea market north of Athens and noticed a huge whitetail rack. He bought the rack for $40. Then he noticed a photo of Georgiaʼs state-record muzzleloader buck in the October, 2004 issue of GON. It was the same rack.

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

New monthly payment option available!


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.