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First Hunt In A Ground Blind Produces 150-Inch Wheeler County Buck

John Clark proved that sometimes it just pays to be in the right place at the right time.

Brad Gill | November 29, 2018

Killing a 150-inch buck from Wheeler County wasn’t really what John Clark, of Alamo, was expecting in the mid-morning hours of Oct. 28.

“This buck was on no camera, hadn’t been seen or anything. He was nowhere,” said John.

John shot the buck from a brand-new ground blind that had only been purchased two days before. It was John’s first time killing a deer out of a ground blind.

“I’ve never been a ground sitter,” said John. “But I wasn’t having any luck hunting a buck I was after in a clearcut.”

John had been looking to fill a tag with a big 10-pointer that he had on camera, but he doesn’t think that buck is quite as big as the one he shot on Oct. 28.

“I purchased the ground blind on Friday (Oct. 26), and me and my father popped it open Saturday after hunting. I picked the general area I wanted to hunt, but my father picked the actual spot to put the blind. It was in some hardwoods with some acorns trees,” said John.

John’s dad, Neal, knows something about killing big Wheeler County bucks. He has the overall No. 4 best buck taken from Wheeler County and the top typical kill that’s not a pick-up rack (see list below).

“On Sunday morning, I decided I would go to the blind and get it ready for hunting,” said John.

John took his 3-year-old son to his mother’s house before working on the new blind. He arrived in the woods around 8:30.

“I heard from some buddies who hunt with ground blinds that there’s some things I needed to do to get it ready,” said John. “I took my cover scent spray bottle to spray the new tent smell down, I figured out what kind of chair I wanted to put in there, where I was going to set up the corn pile and trail camera and what limbs needed to be broken. A few hunters told me to get a tarp and waterproof the blind a little better, so I bought a tarp. I took my chair, bungee cords, spray down stuff and did all that and broke a few limbs, and I finally sat down to see how I liked it.”

John’s new blind was 300 to 400 yards from the clearcut where he had been hunting. Earlier, John had driven his 4-wheeler about 200 yards from the new blind and hiked in the rest of the way. Even after the necessary noise that came with preparing his blind, he had planned to hunt a little while, so he had his hunting backpack and his .300 short mag.

“I figured I would get some good hunting in from 9 to 11,” said John. “When you have a kid, you have to take those awkward times. I get adequate time hunting, but I just don’t get the traditional hours in. You may catch me hunting the 10 to 1 range.”

John had been set up in the new blind for about 20 minutes when the 150-class buck showed up in the hardwood bottom.

“I knew it was a buck by the way he was moving,” said John. “He was weaving in and out of the trees. He was steady paced. I didn’t want to take my eyes off of him, so I was feeling around for my grunt call in my backpack. I couldn’t feel it, so I just dumped the bag until my grunt call fell out. I reached over there and got it. I hit it, and he stopped. I found him in my scope, and I could see one side of his rack, and I knew it was the 10-pointer I was hunting. I was going to end this quick. After 2 1/2 minutes, he started walking and gave me a broadside shot, and I took it.

John walked over to the downed deer and realized it was not the buck he had been hunting, but it was instead a mystery buck that nobody knew anything about.

“He was not the buck I was after, but I think I am more pleased with this one than the one I was after. I’m very excited, proud and humbled,” said John.

Unfortunately, John will not be entering his buck into the Truck-Buck contest since he is not a GON Magazine Subscriber.

“For years the GON magazine has floated around my parents house and our farm in general,” said John. “The subscription was my father’s. This buck could have put me in the Truck Buck contest. Let’s just say I was a proud GON subscriber the next day!”

John reports that him and friend put a tape on the deer and came up with about 150 inches of total antler.  The 10-pointer is a clean typical-framed buck that shouldn’t have much side-to-side deductions to knock the score down. The deer will be officially scored by a Boone & Crockett measurer sometime after the required 60-day drying period. After that, John’s buck will be entered in GON‘s County-by-County Big-Buck rankings.

Below are the top-5 bucks from Wheeler County according to GON’s official county rankings:
1. 198 4/8 non-typical, David Frost, 1983
2. 166 2/8, Paul Dixon (pickup rack), 2004
3. 180 0/8 non-typical, Sidney Marshall (pickup rack),1996
4. 153 1/8, Neal Clark, 1997
5. 152 6/8, Charles Mathis, 1976

The No. 10 buck from Wheeler County scores 145 3/8 inches and was killed by Tanner Knight in 1994. We’ll see if John’s buck will crack the Top-10 for this south Georgia county. It certainly will be in the range to do so.

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