High Hunter-Success At Oaky Woods & Ocmulgee WMAs

Several big bucks were taken on these two non-quota deer hunts.

John Trussell | January 1, 2009

Friends David Karwacki of Darien (left) and Josh Kirkland of Brunswick killed great bucks on the Oaky Woods WMA hunt in early December.

Don Edwards could not believe his eyes as he sat latched to a tree in Area 6 at Ocmulgee WMA, which is located in Bleckley, Pulaski and Twiggs counties. It was Wednesday, Nov. 26, and he had just seen a spike buck and let it go by. But a couple of seconds later, he looked over his shoulder and saw a huge buck. He fired his .30/06, and the monster buck went down.

At 10 a.m., Don, who is a sergeant with the Warner Robins Police Department, climbed down from his stand, lifted the head of the huge buck and realized he had just harvested the biggest buck of his life! With 20 points and a 16 4/8-inch outside spread, the buck dressed out at 152 pounds.

Back at the Ocmulgee check station, WRD Biologist Bobby Bond and WMA Area Manager Randy Wood determined the buck was 6 1/2 years old. The deer will gross in the 150s and be one of the best WMA bucks from the 2008-09 season.

Another nice 12-point buck was killed on the Nov. 26-29 Ocmulgee hunt by David Cox of Warner Robins.

David was hunting in planted pines near Albert Jenkins Road when he saw a doe pop out of the woods fol- lowed by the buck at about 9:40 a.m. He was rewarded for his patience because it was raining, and he had briefly stopped hunting to install an umbrella over his stand. He had previously experienced a slow year deer hunting and had only seen three deer all season, but he sure cashed in his chips with this great buck. Across the river on Oaky Woods WMA in Houston and Pulaski counties, there were some big bucks killed on the Dec. 3-6 hunt.

David Karwacki and Josh Kirkland, both from the Georgia coast, shot nice bucks. On Wednesday, Dec. 3, Josh used his cell phone to text David: “Hey, shot a big one!”

David asked, “Need any help?”

“Nope, it is prime time. Stay in your stand,” Josh texted back.

A few minutes later, David texted, “Hey, I shot a big one, too! Meet you at the check station!”

These two guys are regular hunters at Oaky Woods WMA, and David said the December Oaky Woods hunt may be the best non-quota big-buck hunt in the state.

Although success often favors the hunter who is well-experienced in hunting an area, Eddie Dunn of Lizella proved that scouting a small area can pay off, too. On his first Oaky Woods hunt, Eddie saw some tall oak trees not far from the check station that over- looked a clearcut that had a small deer trail running through it. It was only about 200 yards off the most traveled road in the WMA, and Eddie could clearly see vehicles passing by from his elevated perch, and they could see him, but the deer did not seem to mind the noise. Late in the morning, he saw a doe amble by, and it was followed by a huge 8-pointer that he stretched out with a good shot.

These Tifton hunters brought a truck load of meat to the Oaky Woods check station. James Lamarca (right) shot a nice 8-pointer, while James Sumner (center) and Marlon Eldridge also took bucks. The group killed a hog, too.

Alan Davis of Loganville checked in a great tall-tined buck after he ambushed it in a funnel area. It was a 3 1/2-year-old 8-pointer with a 17-inch spread and was taken in Area 5.

D.C Maddox of Commerce hunts with a group of 15 from his area every year, and he killed a good 8-pointer. Dennis Plank of Montezuma shot two nice bucks, a 10-pointer and an 8- pointer, 30 minutes apart. More good bucks were taken by John Lang, W.T. Clark, Brant Carey, William Clack, James Sumner, Marlon Eldridge, Victor Williams, James Lamarca and Tommy Hensley. Claude Coile of Acworth did it the hard way and collected a doe with his Thompson Contender pistol.

These two WMAs are the heart of middle Georgia hunting; however, their futures are cloudy as this part of the state continues to lose its rural setting.

Some good news is that Ocmulgee is 50 percent state owned, with a large tract around the check station being purchased a few years ago. Just a few  years ago, Ocmulgee WMA consisted of 29,000 acres; now it is 21,243, and the state has no secure funding source to purchase valuable and disappearing conservation properties.

Oaky Woods is in worse shape, since it’s owned by an investment group interested in turning the area into residential and commercial properties. However, for the present time the state is able to continue to lease the property, but it’s on a year-to-year basis.

Alan Davis of Loganville with a tall-tined Oaky Woods buck 9-pointer.

Don Edwards of Warner Robins shot this 20-pointer at Ocmulgee WMA on Nov. 26.

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