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The Osborne Eight: Georgia’s Best 8-Point Buck Ever

This Morgan County 8-pointer, killed 35 years ago, was finally scored in August, 2003.

Lindsay Thomas Jr. | September 25, 2003

Whatʼs the highest-scoring 8-point buck in Georgia? Now there is an official answer to this often-asked question.

Georgiaʼs best 8-pointer was killed in Morgan County by Jimmy Osborne, of Doraville, on opening day of firearms season, 1968. Jimmy, then 28 years old, was with his dad, Blue Osborne. The father-and-son team had done a lot of deer hunting together, mostly on the Piedmont Refuge hunts, and Jimmy had killed a few does. He had yet to kill his first buck. On that first day of the 1968 season, Jimmy and his dad were hunting on a dairy farm that they had never set foot on.

“Dad worked for a dairy in Atlanta, and they closed one of their pastures in Morgan County and took the cows off of it so we could hunt it that day,” said Jimmy. “But I couldn’t tell you where the farm was, itʼs been so long ago.”

Jimmy was hunting with an open-sighted, bolt-action .30-30, borrowed from his dad.

This is one impressive profile of a Georgia rack, anchored by back tines of 14 7/8 and 15 1/8 inches.

“We had hunted all day, and I hadn’t seen anything,” said Jimmy. “We started back in about 4:00 that afternoon, and I stopped and climbed up a tree, a little old pine tree in the middle of some open hardwoods, and was sitting up in the top of it. I hadn’t set there 15 minutes I donʼt guess when that thing just came walking by. He was between 60 and 70 yards from me when I shot. It was just the luck of the draw, I guess.”

Jimmy had shot an 8-pointer that was estimated to weigh between 250 and 300 pounds. “I didn’t know there was anything that big in Georgia,” he said.

The shoulder mount of the buck went on Jimmyʼs wall. He continued to deer hunt with his dad every year until 1987, when Blue Osborne passed away. Though he killed several more nice 8-pointers, Jimmy never saw a buck to compare to the big one on his wall.

Over the years a few friends and co-workers saw Jimmyʼs buck. Jimmy runs a printing press at Harris Specialty Lithographers in Stone Mountain, and eventually word of his huge deer reached his boss, Harold Still. Harold, a deer hunter and member of a Morgan County hunting club himself, asked Jimmy to bring the buck in to the office in August, and as soon as he saw it he was on the phone to GON.

Jimmy posed with the mount of his buck in September, 2003, after it had been officially measured at 165 5/8, the highest-known score for a Georgia 8-pointer.

“I read GON every month, and I’ve seen a lot of deer out at hunting camps, some massive deer, so I knew this one was a good one,” said Harold. “I knew it needed to be scored.”

With Jimmyʼs permission, Harold took the buck to WRD headquarters in Social Circle, where it was officially measured by biologist John Bowers. For a buck with only eight points, the gross score of 168 3/8 is astounding, and the net of 165 5/8 is within five inches of making the all-time Boone & Crockett record book.

WRD senior biologist Bill Cooper in Albany is an official B&C measurer and a guru of big buck records in Georgia, heading up the measuring for GON’s Truck-Buck contest for decades. Bill said he was sure that Jimmy Osborneʼs buck is the highest-scoring 8-pointer on record in Georgia. Itʼs a fact that none of Georgiaʼs Boone & Crocketts are typical 8-pointers, and that leaves very little room, actually the small gap between 165 5/8 and 170, for an 8-pointer larger than Jimmy Osborneʼs.

The key features that help Jimmyʼs buck reach that pinnacle are its exceptional spread, long beams, and, most importantly, extremely long tines. In particular, take a look at what the Boone & Crockett Club refers to as the “G-2s,” the first set of tines up from the brow tines. The right G-2 measures 14 7/8 inches, the left measures 15 1/8 inches.

We wondered if that G-2 might also be a record for the length of a single tine. Bill Cooper said he knows that no Georgia buck has ever topped 16 inches for tine length, but he wasn’t sure about the longest measurement. We went through our files and found one buck with a tine that exceeds 15 1/8 inches. The Major Beard buck from Macon County, killed in 1971, has a left G-2 that measures 15 5/8 inches (itʼs total net score was 196 7/8 non-typical).

So, whatʼs the highest-scoring 6-pointer in Georgia? If you think you’ve got the answer, let us know!

 

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