Jones County Non-Typical Wins 1989 Hilman’s Big Buck Contest
Editor’s Note: Below is a story from 30 years ago that will appear in the Days GON By section of the February 2020 issue of GON. We miss our dear friend Bill Hilsman and the great deer contest he used to host.
The crowd of deer hunters gathered around the Hilsman’s Deer Cooler booth at the Fisharama two weeks ago waited to hear it made official, but there wasn’t much suspense about who was going to win the 1989-90 Hilsman’s Big Deer Contest. One set of spectacular antlers clearly towered over all the others on display, and when the announcement was finally made, it was the 15-point Jones County non-typical that took top honors.
The Jones County buck, killed by Emory Tribble, of Gray, scored 192 3/8 non-typical Boone and Crockett inches—just 2 5/8 inches shy of the B&C record book. Emory drove home in the grand prize, a 1990 Chevy S-10 4X4 truck.
Emory’s buck also won the grand prize in the Georgia Outdoor News’ Weird Deer Contest (yes, that’s what Truck-Buck was originally called…!), a Browning A-bolt rifle and a 9-day bear hunt in Canada.
The second-biggest buck in Hilsman’s contest was a Worth County 10-pointer killed by Mike Roberts, of Sylvester. Mike’s buck scored 161 B&C typical points and won him a Suzuki 4-wheeler.
Ed Oliver, of West Point, placed third with a Harris County buck that scored 158 5/8 inches. Ed won a USA Pro Hunter Bike and a Hoyt Pro Vantage bow.
Don Jones, of LaGrange, topped the field in the bow-killed category with an impressive Troup County 9-pointer that scored 137 3/8 inches. Don’s buck was also a GON two-week period winner.
Interestingly, of the six bow-killed bucks entered in the contest and scored at the Fisharama, four made the minimums for inclusion in the Pope & Young archery record book: Don Jones’ buck; Joel Vaughn Jr.’s 129 7/8-inch Lamar County buck; Billy Ussery’s 128 1/8-inch Jones County buck (another GON winner); and Terry Fountain’s 125 1/8-inch Wheeler County buck.
Overall, 2,400 hunters entered Hilsman’s contest prior to the beginning of gun season and 110 deer were entered. Fifty-two racks were scored at the Fisharama by official B&C scorers Dick Whittington and Bill Cooper of the Georgia Game and Fish Division.
At this year’s awards presentation, Bill Hilsman donated a total of $2,000 to the Georgia Wildlife Federation, the state’s TIPS program (Turn In Poachers) and to Camp Sunshine, a north Georgia camp for children with cancer.
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