Gwinnett Velvet Giant Is No. 2 Typical Georgia Bow Buck Of All-Time

Grant Bailey’s 10-pointer nets 174 3/8 inches.

John N. Felsher | February 12, 2024

Grant Bailey’s Gwinnett County buck is Georgia’s No. 2 best-ever typical bow-kill and the best velvet typical ever from Georgia.

Georgia has a new No. 2 best-ever typical bow-kill buck. The giant Gwinnett County 10-pointer grossed 182 inches and netted 174 3/8 inches and was recently scored by official measurer Bobby Bond in Fort Valley. When looking at overall Georgia bow bucks, both typical and non-typical, Grant Bailey’s buck is No. 6 on that list. It is the highest-scoring velvet typical taken with a bow in Georgia.

Grant grew up hunting family land and big plantations in south Georgia. In addition to the family owned land, the Bailey family leases about 1,000 acres of hunting property in south Georgia. The 22-year-old archer killed his first deer with a bow at 9 years old and many more since then.

Even with so much land available to him, Bailey regularly heads up to Gwinnett County, part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. He gained permission to hunt the ’burbs from a landowner living in a house on 3 acres about 30 minutes from Atlanta.

“I got into suburban deer hunting in 2023,” said Bailey, who lives in Forsyth. “I work a lot in Atlanta, so I wanted to hunt somewhere in that area.”

The landowner lives on about a half-acre with the other 2.5 acres left to nature. Hardwood trees, mostly white oaks, dominate the tiny wooded property. Two small creeks course through the area. A company with big warehouses sits about 250 yards behind the house.

“I have a friend who lives in the area,” Grant said. “His cousin lives one neighborhood over. During the 2022-23 rut, the cousin videoed a 150- to 160-class 12-pointer walking across the yard. Seeing that 12-point on camera got me interested in hunting the area.”

Grant and his friend Tony West set out multiple game cameras in that vicinity before the 2023-24 season opened. For three weeks, they caught nothing on camera. Then, one day a big deer showed up with two other antlered running buddies. Grant believed this big buck, not the 12-pointer previously caught on camera, liked to bed down near a retention pond on a small hill by the trucking company.

“This plot of land has seven deer, three bucks and four does, that I’ve caught on camera,” Grant said. “All I could see was one side of the big one. He looked like about a 140-class deer tops. The big buck beds down at the edge of the retention pond. He had a little cover to his back, and he could look down the hill to see if anything was coming come his way.

A lady who lives in that area told Grant that a big deer crosses through this area regularly. Grant put up a game camera where the lady said the deer crossed. Just a few hours later, it appeared on camera and came through that spot every day during daylight hours.

The archer put up a Millennium Lock-on stand 20 feet up in a tree about 70 yards behind the landowner’s house and 100 yards from the retention pond. The tree grew in a stretch about 10 yards wide between the two small creeks. To the front leaned a fallen tree, still supported about 8 feet off the ground by branches acting like columns. Where little other ground-level cover existed, this wooden fortress could provide an excellent sanctuary for a large deer.

On Sept. 10, 2023, the second day of bow season, Grant climbed into this stand at about 4 p.m. With Daylight Savings Time still in effect, darkness didn’t hit until nearly 8 p.m. The deer used the wooded strip and the creeks to travel largely unseen by humans, but not cameras.

“Where I had the deer on camera was about 15 yards past the second creek,” Grant said. “If I ever went past the second creek, that deer would not show up for 12 hours. He would know someone was in his area. I learned from hunting this property, that even though the deer are living in a suburban area surrounded by people, once someone enters where they live, they know that person is there.”

On this September afternoon, a favorable breeze blew back toward the house. About 5:30 p.m. two does walked into view. They stayed around one of the creeks for about an hour before wandering off. Grant could easily have arrowed a doe, but he wanted the wily old buck. After that, nothing else appeared for a long time.

“I was starting to get discouraged because the deer had been in there,” he said. “That big buck was smart. Maybe he knew I was in his area. Then, the wind started kicking up and it got dark as a severe thunderstorm popped up. Soon, it got nasty, really windy and rainy with lightning and I’m sitting in a tree in a metal stand. I probably made smarter decisions in my life, but I was determined to get that big deer.”

Just about the time he decided to call it quits, he looked up and saw a buck, but not the one he wanted. One of the “Three Amigos” that usually ran together walked about 25 yards to Grant’s left.

“He was about a 130- to 140-inch class 10-pointer, not the biggest one,” Grant said. “He got in the creek just below me about 6 yards away. I looked up again and the second buck walks out. He’s about a 145-inch 11-pointer, a great deer, but still not the one I was after. I knew the big one had to be around here somewhere.”

Both bucks came in from the left. Grant could see very well in that direction, but not in front with the leaning tree and its bastion of branches holding the trunk aloft. After the second buck appeared, Grant looked intently for the third one, which he thought had to be close. Then, he looked down and spotted the big buck walking beneath the leaning tree. The deer went under the protection of the fallen tree about 9 yards away and stayed there.

“I was nervous, but I practice shooting a lot,” Grant said. “I usually shoot some does early in the season so I can calm myself down, but this was the second day of the season, and I hadn’t killed anything yet. I was shaking a lot. I pulled the bowstring back and let the arrow fly. The crazy thing, I don’t think he ever knew what hit him. The arrow went through him so fast. He walked about 8 yards and fell right in sight of me.”

Grant called his friend, Brett Jones, at that time hunting another property about 2 miles away. The friend couldn’t believe he shot that big buck but came over to help drag it out of the woods. They estimated that it was about 5 1/2 years old and weighed more than 200 pounds.

“The buck was in full velvet but just about ready to shed it,” Grant said. “That’s why I really want to get in there and kill him early because when they shed their velvet, they typically change their patterns. I was surprised that he still had that velvet because every other deer I had on camera had already shed their velvet.”

When Brett arrived, they dragged the monster buck across two creeks to the landowner’s front yard. Earlier, Grant told the landowner about the deer, and he wanted to see it.

“The landowner was not much of a hunter,” Grant said. “He was out in his yard when we dragged the deer up there. He was surprised that there was a deer that big in his backyard, plus two more. His main concern was the deer were eating his flowers. He was happy that I killed one of them.

“Brett was ecstatic when he saw it. He told me the whole time that he thought it was that big, but nobody else thought it was. It looked a lot bigger in person than in the pictures. He was just as excited as I was. I would have been just as happy if he got it. Another guy contacted me after I shot the deer. He had pictures and thought it was the same deer.”

Grant brought the deer to Fortner Taxidermy in Loganville to make a pedestal mount. To kill that deer, Bailey used a Mathews Phase 4 compound bow with a Victory VAP arrow tipped with a G5 Deadmeat broadhead.


Best Bow Bucks Of All-Time

1236 1/8 (NT)Benny Overholt2021MaconBowView 
2223 6/8 (NT)Mikell Fries2013EvansBowView 
3213 4/8 (NT)Jay Maxwell2007FultonBowView 
4177 1/8 Manny Kaloyannides2018DeKalbBowView 
5200 5/8 (NT)Lee Ellis2019CobbBowView 
6174 3/8 Grant Bailey2023GwinnettBowView 
7173 5/8 David Campbell2012LeeBowView 
8173 1/8 Michael Long1991MorganBowView 
9170 2/8 Dylan Wylie2018FultonBowView 
10170 2/8 Jeff Foxworthy2018HarrisBowView 

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  1. drenalin08 on February 22, 2024 at 10:44 am

    Congratulations on your awesome buck!

  2. Bradley Koeppel on February 22, 2024 at 10:26 am

    Somebody out there is sad their pet got shot. More apples for the other deer I guess.

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