Stephens County Gets New No. 1 Buck

Terry Dooley’s buck grosses 168 1/8, nets 161 2/8 inches.

Mike Bolton | March 3, 2023

Terry Dooley played the classic cat-and-mouse game with this Stephens County 11-pointer before taking him on Dec. 2.

Good things come to those who wait. That popular phrase from an old poem is centuries old, so it obviously isn’t about Toccoa’s Terry Dooley. But it sure could be because, boy, was he forced to wait.

“I think I first got this buck on camera in 2016,” Terry said of his biggest buck ever that he took during the 2022 season. “I started getting him on camera again in 2021, and by then, he was a 10-point. He started making regular appearances on my camera the last two years.”

The Stephens County record buck, which eventually became an 11-point, would score 161 2/8 after deductions by Boone & Crockett scorers. Terry could never find anywhere to weigh the buck. It was believed to be 6 1/2 or 7 1/2 years old.

One might think a buck of that size would be a slam-dunk on a 100-acre piece of property.  Think again.

“All during 2021, I had him on camera, but it was always at night, never during the day,” he said. “Finally, this past season, he started appearing on camera during the day some, so I thought I may have a chance.”

Prior to the 2022 season, Terry would get pictures of the buck but always at night. The 2022 season would be when the buck was on camera during the day.

The only problem, it was like the big buck had Terry’s schedule.

“I hunted him every spare moment that I had,” he said. “I never saw him. I’d check my cameras and there he was during the day. I was always thinking that if I had only been there that day, I would have gotten him. It was driving me crazy.”

Terry named the buck G-Pa, short for Grandpa. When his first grandchild was born in December, he was asked what he wanted his name to be. That was simple. He wanted to be called G-Pa, too.

On the morning of Dec. 2, it was cold and misting rain.

“I saw some movement in the woods about 150 yards away, but it was hard to see,” he said. “Some does finally showed themselves. They kept looking back, and they finally ran off. I thought it was probably a dog scaring them.

“Later I saw some quick movement out of the corner of my eye and a doe came back in, but she disappeared. I saw a buck with his head down, but when he lifted his head up, I knew it was him.

“I’ve taken some good bucks through the years, so I thought my shaking days were over. I was shaking so bad that I couldn’t get a shot off. I was praying to the Good Lord to calm me down.

“I was in a ladder stand and I picked up my shooting stick and put it against the rail of the stand to steady my shot. My scope was all over him. I just needed him to turn broadside. He did and I shot. He bowed up and bolted.”

The big buck ran and Terry heard a crash so loud that it startled him.

“I really didn’t know what the crash was because it was so loud,” Terry said. “It was surprising because it was really pretty open where he ran.”

Terry then faced a dilemma that many face. Do you sit and wait, or do you go searching?

“I sat there about five minutes, but I was so torn up that I shimmied down the stand and started easing that way,” he said. “I got to where he was standing when I shot and saw a lot of blood. I thought I had made a good hit.”

His positivity suddenly took a hit.

“Then, I saw the tree that he hit,” he said. “It was about 2 inches in diameter. It was skinned all the way down. I’m thinking ‘Oh no. If he hit the tree that hard, he may have broken an antler off.’ Then I walked about another 30 yards and the blood stopped.”

Terry guessed which way the buck had gone and could not find blood. He went back to last blood and tried a different route. He went 35 yards and found his trophy down and dead. The rack was still all together.

“I tell you, I was emotional,” he said. “I called my wife and son-in-law, and I was crying. I told my wife I got G-Pa. She was so happy for me.

“I just sat there and thanked God,” he said. “To become a G-Pa and get G-Pa in the same year was just everything I prayed for.”


Stephens County Best Bucks Of All-Time

1161 2/8 Terry Dooley2022StephensGunView 
2154 3/8 Derek Cleveland2020StephensGunView 
3148 5/8 Johnny Lathan1999StephensGun
4146 1/8 Alan Mitchell2014StephensFound
5143 4/8 Greg Roach2020StephensGunView 
6136 6/8 Aaron Roth2009StephensGun
7135 3/8 Andrew Hiner2011StephensGun
8134 2/8 Andy Davis1992StephensGun
9133 3/8 Scott Barrett2018StephensGun
10133 2/8 Wayne Bentley2002StephensGunView 

Become a GON subscriber and enjoy full access to ALL of our content.

New monthly payment option available!


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.