Management Plan Pays Off With County Record Buck
Tim Webb Jr. records the best bow-buck ever from Muscogee County.
By Tim Webb Jr.
I started an archery-only deer management program on my property about five years ago because I was only seeing bucks with little scrubby racks. I started limiting deer hunting access, removed all hunting pressure from any other hunters, and ceased deer harvesting. During the next summer I put out trail cams hoping I would get some pics of the deer I had not harvested and to see if any of those bucks were still in the area and might have grown bigger antlers. I didn’t find as great of an improvement as I thought I would, so I began thinking that maybe I should bump up the food sources. That late summer and early fall, just prior to the second hunting season, I did a lot of research and trial-and-error trying to find something to plant for the deer that would be year-round and not require constant re-planting due to over-grazing. I also added a couple supplemental feeder troughs. Believe me, those little scrawny deer were hungry for the new food sources, and they really hammered the new larger year-round food plots.
The second year I started getting older, more mature bucks coming to the new food sources on my trail cameras but only at night. These older bucks would never show up in daylight hours, and I concluded they didn’t grow up around feeders and food plots and were too smart and would probably die of old age. This second year I decided to begin harvesting only cull bucks and only if the cull buck came in alone and never take one with other deer standing around as not to educate the other deer to hunting pressure. I also allowed two young (adult supervised) kids to hunt at the end of the season to do some doe management as needed with the same management rules that they were not allowed to shoot a doe if any bucks were near or in the food plots. In other words, try and take the first doe or two—as quietly as possible with archery equipment—that entered the food plot, and then sit til well after dark and not start the recovery of the doe until I came to pick them up on the golf cart.
On the third year of the management plan I began to see a couple 3 1/2-year-old bucks that I though may have grown up in my food plots, because they weren’t as shy to daylight hours. One particular 3 1/2-year-old buck had a nice 125-inch, wide rack, but it didn’t quite have the tine length or mass. This buck started showing up in the food plots, and I hoped he would hang around another year or two and mature further, and not stray too far and get himself shot by a neighbor. I saw him several times during the season. Around this time, I started letting a friend sit with me in a shooting house I had built that I used to just sit and watch deer so I could get a better inventory that just a camera on a tree. My friend decided to get himself a video camera, and we’d go sit and he would practice on his videoing skills and I’d just watch deer. The first time my friend saw this particular deer, he could not believe that I would let him walk. He was so distraught over the fact I just let this deer walk around and feed in front of our stand. It was beyond him, and he sat with his face in his hands saying, “You’ll never see him again” and “nobody else will let that deer walk off and not shoot him.” Luckily the buck made it through the third management season, and I watched him grow during the following summer via live surveillance cameras that I had installed around the property.
The fourth year of management was the same, and the buck grew to be around 140 inches. I watched him on live camera during the summer and throughout the 2020 hunting season, and occasionally I’d go sit with my friend in the shooting box stand and listen to my friend tell me I was crazy for not taking him, but I wanted to see if I could get the buck through one more hunting season because he had made so much progress in tine length and mass the past two seasons.
The summer of the fifth management season I watched this buck in velvet, and he appeared to be over 150 inches now. When the 2021 bow season opened, I decided that if I got the chance to take him by bow, then I would take the shot. Opening morning, Sept. 11, 2021, I did not hunt. On Sept 16, my friend brought his video camera and sat in the box blind & I chose to sit in my climber. Well, the hunt didn’t go as planned. I got blowed at / snorted at by every deer that came within 50yds of me and my friend texted me pics from the box blind and told me the buck was standing 20yds in front of him in the box blind. The next day, Friday, Sept 17, and I sat in the box stand with my friend and his video equipment, and we saw the deer cross at the other end of the powerline about 125 yards away. He had several other smaller bucks with him. I told my friend to get the camera ready and get still because the buck was coming up the powerline just inside the tree line, and we had about 6 minutes to get ready, and the bucks would pop out on the deer trail at 25 yards to go to my food plot.
The buck popped out at 25 yards, and I took the shot. After the shot, my mind starting racing, and I wanted to make sure I had made a kill shot before I started the recovery, so we backed out and went and viewed the video footage. Once I saw the footage, I was 100% convinced that I had made a kill shot, and we returned to track the buck and found him approximately 50 yards from the box blind.
I sent pics to a couple of hunting buddies, and one GON member told me that this buck could very well be the largest buck taken in Muscogee County, Georgia. After gross-scoring the rack around 150 inches and looking at the records in GON magazine online where the current record was 143 1/8 was set in 1995, I figured we might have a chance depending on the minor deductions to the rack score. The official score was 149 6/8 with a net score of 143 5/8. So this is indeed the biggest bow buck in Muscogee County and beat the previous 26-year-old record by 4/8 of an inch.
It took five years of hard work, dedication, sticking to the management plan, and the patience. I saw many a buck come and go and never saw them again, but in my opinion it was well worth the effort, and luckily the end result paid off.
Muscogee County All-Time Record Bow-Bucks
Rank Score Name Year County Method Photo 1 143 5/8 Tim Webb Jr. 2021 Muscogee Bow View 2 143 1/8 Crow Gudger 1995 Muscogee Bow 3 132 1/8 Brent Purvis 2023 Muscogee Bow View 4 126 3/8 Thomas Hindman 1999 Muscogee Bow 5 122 7/8 Brent Purvis 2023 Muscogee Bow View 6 118 Hughes Massengale 2010 Muscogee Bow View
Muscogee County All-Time Records
Rank Score Name Year County Method Photo 1 231 2/8 (NT) Blake Voltz 1997 Muscogee Gun View 2 159 Eric Odegrard 1996 Muscogee Gun 3 153 4/8 Donnie McCarty 1962 Muscogee Gun 4 150 2/8 Neil Hotard 2003 Muscogee Gun View 5 143 5/8 Tim Webb Jr. 2021 Muscogee Bow View 6 143 1/8 Crow Gudger 1995 Muscogee Bow 7 138 2/8 J.R. Rozier 2008 Muscogee Gun View 8 132 7/8 Steven Bishop 2010 Muscogee Gun 9 132 6/8 Jo Ann Bickley 1993 Muscogee Gun 10 132 1/8 Brent Purvis 2023 Muscogee Bow View
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