Last Day, Last Minute 14-Point Georgia Giant!

Donny Karr | January 13, 2020

While deer season was winding down over the weekend in Georgia, there were still a few dedicated hunters who took to the woods in a last-ditch effort to harvest a deer. That’s exactly what Justin Peterson, 29, of LaGrange, was doing Sunday evening when he shot one of the most impressive late-season bucks in recent memory for the state of Georgia. Justin’s last-minute buck from Heard County is a massive 14-point brute sporting double brow tines. 

Justin and some friends put a measuring tape to the rack and roughly came up with around 190 total inches of antler. Split brow tines will be deductions when an official score is done in 60 days, but the main-frame 6×6 12-point should still net in the high 160s… or better! The minimum for the all-time Boone & Crockett record book is 170.

The current Heard County record, according to GON’s official rankings, is the 1977 Jim Richards’ buck that netted 176 4/8. UPDATE: Justin’s buck netted 153 4/8, despite more than 15 inches in deductions. It had right at 180 total inches of antler. It ranks No. 15 all-time for Heard County and makes GON’s prestigious Fab 40 for the 2019-2020 Georgia deer hunting season.

It all came together yesterday, Jan. 12, just before dark on a Sunday evening when Justin pulled off what might amount to a buzzer-beater on his Heard County hunting lease.

The buck first showed up on Justin’s radar in the form of an early Christmas present. 

Justin Peterson, of LaGrange, with his Heard County 14-pointer taken during the final minutes of the final day of the 2019-2020 deer season.

“I was going through some trail-cam pictures on Christmas Eve, and that was the first time I had seen him,” said Justin.

Justin then made some strategic moves on his hunting property, which is not far from his Heard County home where he’s been hunting the past four years. He relocated his stand in order to better position himself for a shot at the monster. The buck continued to surface in trail-cam photos just minutes before dark over the course of the past few weeks. 

Justin thought the rain would spoil his hunting efforts on Sunday evening, the final day of the 2019-2020 Georgia deer season, but he was determined to give it one final effort. 

“I looked at the forecast and told my wife that I probably wouldn’t be able to sit in the stand, but I decided to take a walk through the area I had been hunting him at about noon before the rains moved in,” said Justin. “As I was walking near my stand, I jumped him. I managed to get my scope on him, but I just couldn’t get a clear shot.” 

He hastily returned home to gather his gear for a sit and made his way back to his tree stand shortly after 3 p.m., hoping he hadn’t spooked the buck too far away. 

The inches pile up with the buck’s super tine length and a 6×6 main frame.

Justin settled into his stand just a few hours before dark, looking to finally get a shot at the buck. The huge deer made an appearance as the final minutes of daylight were fading. 

“I looked down at my phone to see what time it was, and when I looked back up, I saw a deer standing about 85 yards in front of me, but its front quarters were blocked by a pine tree. I realized that it was larger than the does I had been seeing, and then he stepped out from behind the tree and I saw his antlers.”

Justin wasted no time in shouldering his rifle and placing a perfect shot on the buck, dropping him where he stood. 

“It was just an adrenaline rush, and I started calling people that I had been telling about this buck for the past few weeks,” said Justin. “It’s incredible. I’m really thankful to God that I was able to get him.” 

Justin’s buck is proof that dedication and perseverance in late season hunting can truly pay off. It’s never over until the clock run outs, and it’s true of deer hunting, too. 

Heard County Best Bucks Of All-Time

1176 4/8 Jim Richards1977HeardGun
2172 7/8 Keith McCullough1982HeardGun
3164 3/8 Taylor Nelms2009HeardGunView 
4164 John Fike1968HeardGunView 
5185 1/8 (NT)Dan Attaway1976HeardGun
6160 2/8 George Daniel1987HeardGun
7159 3/8 Alice Royal1978HeardGun
8159 Howard Taylor1980HeardBowView 
9156 3/8 Jeff Howard1985HeardGun
10156 3/8 Jeff Nalley1996HeardGunView 

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  1. baracus on January 14, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    That’s awesome, way to stick it out.

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