Tom Duncan’s Dooly County Redhawk Buck

Daryl Kirby | August 1, 1994

For good luck, just rub up against Tom Duncan, of Lawrenceville. Tom, 34, has accomplished more in his short hunting career than most deer hunters could ever dream of.

Tom runs a wholesale furniture warehouse in Tucker. He as lived in Georgia since 1974 when his family moved to Albany, where Torn went to Albany High School. He then attended Valdosta State College, and after graduating moved to the Atlanta area.

“I never hunted until about my senior year in high school,” Tom said. “My dad didn’t hunt, but a couple of’ buddies took me. I didn’t have a gun, I didn’t have hunting clothes. I really got stand heavy in college. My roommate’s father owned several thousand acres in Lowndes County, and the third year hunting with him I shot a buck that won the Sportstown Contest. I won a new truck.”

The buck, Tom’s first, netted 152 6/8 Boone & Crockett points.

For the 1993 Georgia deer season, Tom was approached just before the hunting season about joining a club in Dooly County. The property was a 1,000-acre tract that is part of Redhawk Plantation in Dooly County.

Tom Duncan, of Lawrenceville, won Week 10 of the Truck-Buck Contest in 1993 with this 11-point buck that scored 162 even. Tom’s Dooly County buck was the highest-scoring buck entered during that season’s Truck-Buck contest.

It was really a last minute deal. I knew one guy out of 13 on the lease. Most of the property is planted pines, and everybody picks an area and that’s where they hunt the entire season. You have to hunt out of tripod stands because of the planted pines. Because I got in late, I got what was left over. The people who had sat in my area the year had seen a lot of does, but no bucks

Tom’s spot is an open field about 300 yards by 300 yards square with planted pines around it. There’s a high ridge on one end that slopes down toward some hardwoods on past the planted pines. In the middle of the open field is a patch of small hardwoods and bushes about on-third of an acre in size. The trees and bushes are about 16 to 20 feet high, and that’s where Tom placed his tripod stand.

“I hunted six or seven out of the 11 weekends of gun season. I started seeing does right away, but as the season progressed I wasn’t seeing as many. For a while my confidence was going down. One guy had seen some bucks, but their racks had been knocked off.”

On Nov. 20, 1993, Tom’s luck would change for the better.

“I hunted that morning and didn’t see anything. What I didn’t know at that time was that a huge buck had been shot at around lunch time. It was boy who was hunting just over the hill from where I was, he shot three times. One bullet actually went through the buck’s left ear. He didn’t tell anybody, the buck was chasing a doe and he wanted another chance.

“We didn’t know this had happened. I was running late that afternoon, I had to go to Albany to visit my parents and didn’t get into my stand until about 4:30. I remember it was a clear and sunny day. I didn’t see anything and it was getting late. I was debating whether to get down or not. I was kind of slumped over, day dreaming, and I just happened to sit up and look over my right shoulder.

“The buck was walking from the edge of the planted pines into the hardwood thicket I was in, about 50 yards from my stand. My elbows were on my knees, and my gun was just laying there. When I first saw him I knew he was big from the tine length. I only saw him for a second or two, and then I lost him in the hardwood thicket. He was on top of the hill above me, and I knew he was going to walk across the top out of the hardwood thicket into the clearing. There’s only one way to come out, there’s an old windrow up there and there’s no crossing, so I knew he’d have to walk along the windrow at the top of the hill.

“It took him a while to come out. I thought maybe he wasn’t going to come. The next time I saw him he was in more of a trot, loping slowly across the top of the hill. My first instinct was to make a noise to stop him, so I made a grunting noise with my mouth. He stopped and started to take a few steps, and I shot—and he dropped. I was so nervous by that time. I bolted another shell and kept the scope on him and waited 5 to 10 minutes.

“I couldn’t believe how big he was, it was just unbelievable. The first thing that hit my mind was that the guy who had got me in the club had hunted there, and he and none of the other guys had shot a buck in two years. I couldn’t stop shaking, I was shaking all over.”

Tom’s buck was the largest in the Southern Zone in Hilsman’s contest, and Tom won a four-wheeler, plus he won $500 cash for taking the biggest buck overall in the Hilsman’s contest.




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