Worth County 204-inch Giant, With A Bow!
UPDATE: Rack of 20-point non-typical still in DNR possession over license issues.
Updated Tuesday, Nov. 20: GON spoke with DNR Law Enforcement Cpl. Greg Wade, the officer who confiscated the giant, 204-inch, Worth County bow-kill taken by Ragan Paramore, 17, of Doerun. Cpl. Wade seized the deer rack from Paramore’s home on Thursday, Nov. 15 after ticketing him for hunting without a hunting license and hunting without a big game license.
Although Paramore reports that he tried multiple times to purchase his licenses on his phone prior to hunting on Nov. 10, and he believed his license purchase went through the system, the rack is still in possession of DNR based on the two violations.
“If something is killed contrary to law, we have to take the deer,” said Wade.
In seizing Paramore’s rack, Wade points to Georgia Code 27-1-21, which reads, “Conservation rangers, sheriffs, and other peace officers of this state or any political subdivision thereof shall seize any wildlife taken or possessed in violation of the wildlife laws and regulations of this state.”
What it boils down to is that when a hunter is in violation of a wildlife law or a hunting regulation, that wildlife can be confiscated by DNR.
“You can not legally possess illegally taken wildlife—without a license, poached off the side of the road, shot at night, shot out of season—any of that is illegally taken wildlife. We can not just let anybody possess what we know is illegally taken wildlife,” said Wade.
The 204-inch deer is one of three big bucks that GON has heard about in the past several weeks that have been seized due to hunting license violations. One was a Cedar Creek WMA bow-kill that scored in the 150s, and the other was a Macon County buck picked up from a taxidermy shop. All three were due to hunting license violations.
“Anytime someone has killed a deer, if they don’t have hunting or big game licenses, it’s illegally obtained,” said Wade. “I have always seized those because that’s what the law says I have to do. It’s no different than shooting ducks or doves over bait.”
Since Wade confiscated Paramore’s rack on Nov. 15, he’s seized three other bucks, a 4-, 5- and 7-pointer. The charges on those bucks included hunting without a license, over the limit and a deer that was shot from a road.
“It (confiscating an illegal buck) has nothing to do with the size of deer, but when a big deer makes a story, everybody is going to know about it,” said Wade. “These smaller deer people don’t know about, it doesn’t make a huge story like this one did. If this was a smaller deer, this wouldn’t even be a story right now.”
Wade said DNR rangers use everything at their disposal to make cases, which include phone call complaints, text messages, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other sources of Internet media. The story of the Worth County buck hit Internet and social media sites like wildfire, which understandably attracted the attention of Law Enforcement.
“We have to do a job, and we have to do it the same way every time,” said Wade. “When laws are broken, we have to come in and do what we have to do, and taking deer is part of it. You got to look how the population would feel if we didn’t. If we didn’t take deer that were illegally taken, why just not go shoot everything?”
In a story that ran online yesterday (see below), the 17-year-old Paramore said he tried multiple times to purchase his license on his phone, and his phone kept spinning and spinning. He went hunting, believing that his purchase had gone through. After killing the buck and attempting to report it on Game Check, he realized he did not have a license, and he called his dad, Jeff, who tried three or four times to purchase his son’s license before it finally went though and was successful. They are still seeking to get the rack back on the grounds that the online licensing system appeared to be down since father and son both had troubles purchasing the license.
Paramore killed the buck on his grandmother’s land. A number of folks on social media posed the question as to whether Paramore even needed a hunting license since he was hunting on his family’s farm.
“Resident hunting is required for any resident 16 years old or older except when hunting on one’s own land or land owned by immediate family residing in the same household,” said Wade.
Additionally, immediate family is defined by Georgia law as living “in the same household as them and they are a blood relative or claim you as a dependent.”
Wade said he was in no way thrilled about taking Paramore’s buck.
“It stinks in this situation because you have a kid with a deer of a lifetime that most anybody would want,” said Wade. “This is not what I wanted to do, but it’s not up to me. We just want people to do what they’re supposed to do, and we’re going to do what we have to do.”
A take-home message would be to make absolutely certain your hunting licenses are up to date before you go hunting.
GON will continue to update this story should there be additional news.
Updated Monday, Nov. 19: GON has confirmed that DNR Law Enforcement confiscated the Worth County, 204-inch bow-kill on Thursday, Nov. 15. Ragan Paramore, 17, of Doerun, the hunter who took the giant buck, was given tickets for not having a big-game license and not having a hunting license, although he tried multiple times to purchase a hunting, big game and harvest record on the afternoon before killing his buck.
Ragan had checked his trail camera on Saturday morning, Nov. 10 and discovered the giant buck named “Chester” and decided to go hunting.
GON spoke with Ragan about the license issue on the morning of Nov. 19.
“I got the picture, and I told daddy about it, and he said, ‘You better get in the stand pretty early,'” said Ragan.
Ragan said this was the first time he’d been hunting during the 2018-19 deer hunting season, and he was aware that his hunting licenses had expired in early September 2018. His dad, Jeff, had purchased his licenses the year before, so Jeff sent Ragan his DNR online account information so that the 17-year-old could purchase them on his phone.
“I logged in and went to purchase my license,” said Ragan. “It just sat there and loaded and loaded and loaded. I probably tried three or four times. I tried on WiFi and LTE. There’s just a little thing that was spinning on the phone.”
Ragan said he believed his license purchases went through after multiple attempts, and he went hunting and ended up killing the buck of a lifetime. Ragan was hunting on his grandmother’s land, the family farm.
“I thought my license had gone through until I went to tag the deer that afternoon on my phone, and it (Game Check) wasn’t there,” said Ragan. “After I tried to tag the buck, I told daddy about it.”
After realizing the license purchases did not go through on Ragan’s phone earlier that afternoon, his dad went to purchase his son’s licenses on his phone.
“Daddy said it wasn’t working on his phone,” said Ragan. “He tried it five or six times. We were on WiFi, and we were thinking the WiFi wasn’t working, so he went and got three bars of LTE, and it still didn’t work.”
Jeff did end up getting Ragan’s licenses after about an hour of trying and multiple attempts.
GON also spoke with Ragan’s father, Jeff, on the morning of Nov. 19. Jeff said the family is heart-broken about DNR Law Enforcement Cpl. Greg Wade showing up at the Paramore home to confiscate the deer.
“I don’t want anybody thinking he’s a rogue hunter or anything,” said Jeff. “It’s not like it was an intentional thing, that he was out there hunting to be hunting with no licenses. If it was that case, I would have never bought the license.”
GON is still waiting to hear back from DNR Law Enforcement about this case and will update the story.
The story below was the original story of the Paramore buck that was published online on Nov. 12.
There are not too many hunters in the world, much less 17-year-olds, who can say they’ve killed a 200-inch-class free-range whitetail. Ragan Paramore, 17, of Doerun, is one of the few who can claim it. And Ragan got his Georgia buck with a bow!
On Saturday afternoon, Nov. 10, Ragan killed a Worth County 20-pointer that unofficially grossed around 204 inches. The non-typical, which was killed on Ragan’s family farm, is expected to net in the low 190s.
“I started knowing about this deer about a year and a half ago,” said Ragan, a senior at Worth County High School.
Hunters in the area had the buck on trail-cam pictures and had nicknamed him “Chester.”
“Some people about a mile and a half as the crow flies had him on camera, and another guy about 5 miles away had a picture of him,” Ragan said.
Pictures of Chester were being held tight by those who had trail-camera photos of him. In fact, Ragan knew about Chester but had never actually seen a picture of him. That all changed on Saturday, Nov. 10.
“I checked my camera Saturday at lunch, and he had started coming on my place on Wednesday (Nov. 7), and only one of those was a night picture. The rest were daytime,” said Ragan.
Ragan had no idea that the deer he’d photographed was Chester. He just knew it was a really big buck that he predicted would score in the 160s.
“He was in a creekbottom coming to a corn pile I had,” said Ragan.
With a giant buck on the property, Ragan decided to ease into his Millennium lock-on tree stand about 3 p.m. on that Saturday. He was positioned 15 yards away from where the pictures of the buck were taken. Ragan elected to hunt with his bow.
“That’s really the only thing I do is bowhunt. I used to rifle hunt, but my dad bought me a bow about three years ago, and I’ve never really picked the rifle up since,” said Ragan.
Things were quiet until a little after 5:30 p.m.
“I saw a deer in the thick stuff to my right, and all I could see was legs,” said Ragan. “I didn’t know what deer it was, but I went ahead and stood up and got ready in case it was him. He threw his nose up and turned and looked, and I knew it was him. I thought he was going to bust me because he stayed there about 10 minutes and had his nose in the air.”
Although the buck was only 35 yards out, Ragan could only watch since it was too thick for an ethical bow shot.
“Then after a little bit, he just walked right to the corn and started eating,” said Ragan. “He didn’t act like he was looking for a doe or anything. He looked the other way where I could pull back. I shot, and I saw my arrow sticking straight in the ground. I thought I had missed him.”
Ragan said he was pretty upset with himself for what he thought was a missed opportunity at the buck of a lifetime.
“He ran about 50 yards to a grass road, and he was just standing there looking around in the road. And I am like, ‘I missed this deer.’ He stepped right across the road and fell right there.”
Just to give the deer a little time, Ragan backed out and got some buddies to help with the recovery. They quickly got their hands on the buck and got him out of the woods. Ragan still didn’t know that he had killed Chester.
“I’d never seen a picture of Chester off that other guy’s camera, I just knew it was the big deer I had a picture of,” said Ragan. “I didn’t know it was Chester until the guy who had been getting him on camera came over. He congratulated me.”
Ragan connected with Boone & Crockett measurer Bill Cooper in Albany, who agreed to take a look at the deer at 11 p.m. that night. Although unofficial, Bill took some measurements on the buck and came up with an unofficial green gross score of 204 inches. After side-to-side deductions on the typical frame, the rack could end up with a net non–typical score of right around 190.
Ragan is not a GON member, so his buck is not entered in Truck-Buck. He would have been a good bet to win the weekly prize $1,200 Browning rifle and qualify for the Shoot-Out for the John Megel pickup truck and Beast Ultimate Hunting Buggy.
Ragan’s rack will be officially measured after the required 60-day drying period for whitetail deer.
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