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Yellow Raincoat Booner

Seventeen-year-old Lowndes County Boone & Crockett buck “discovered” at Atlanta Buckarama.

Brad Bailey | September 4, 2000

Thanksgiving Day of 1983 Jack Garrison, of Lithia Springs, was in Hahira visiting his parents on his grandmother’s 100-acre Lowndes County farm. A day earlier his dad had showed him a massive deer trail crossing a soybean field. A big water oak with limbs hanging down stood where the deer had been crossing a fence leaving the field. A buck had destroyed several low limbs and had a huge area of sandy soil ripped up.

Late Thanksgiving afternoon while playing cards with relatives, something told Jack he ought to go hunt the buck sign. He had his deer rifle with him but didn’t have any hunting clothes, and it was raining.

“My dad said all he had was a bright yellow raincoat,” said Jack. “I just laughed, but I put it on.”

He then walked about three-quarters of a mile from the house to the soybean field.

“When I got out there it was almost dark and it was raining,” said Jack. “I didn’t have a stand or the time enough to climb a tree so I decided to just stand on the ground. It was about 150 yards across the soybean field to the woods, so I decided just to back up into the briers around a cypress swamp in the field.

“I backed into the briers and had no more than just got settled in and was just standing there thinking how stupid I looked in that yellow raincoat, hunting down on the ground, and I looked over there at the fence and all of a sudden I saw some movement. It was this deer. Of course I didn’t have a clue about how big it was, or anything about it. I just knew it was a buck because I saw the light glint off the antlers.

“I have deer hunted a long time in Morgan County, and I have never seen a deer act like this one did. The deer was doing 360s in a spot about as big as a parking place for a car. That was the area he had torn up over there that I had seen the day before.

“The buck was spinning around and around and kicking almost like a bucking horse. He did that for about a minute, and then he started my way. I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe this. I am standing on the ground in a yellow raincoat and this deer is coming straight at me.’

“I knew the trail came halfway across the soybean field and then it split. The deer would follow the trail across the field and go into a swamp on my grandmother’s place. I knew I had to do something when the buck made it to the “Y.”

On Thanksgiving Day, 1983, Jack Garrison was hunting on the ground in a bright yellow raincoat when he shot this 14-point Lowndes County Boone & Crockett buck.

Because of a rise in the field, Jack could see only the top half of the buck above the soybeans.

“I’m glad I didn’t know how big the deer was because I would probably have missed it for being nervous. When he got to the “Y” he turned to the right. I aimed at his chest just above the soybeans and made my shot.”

Jack was shooting a scoped Remington 742 .30/06 with a 180-grain bullet. From a distance of about 75 yards, the shot was perfect and the buck fell on the spot.

“I still had no idea that it was a big deer,” said Jack. “Usually I will wait a little before going to a deer, but since it was getting dark and it was raining I went on out. If the deer got up and made it into the woods I would never find it in the rain without a blood trail.

“I ran on out into the field and sure enough, there he lay. When I saw the rack I was overwhelmed. It was the biggest deer I had ever seen, period.”

The buck had a heavily palmated, 5X6 rack with three sticker points on bases giving the rack 14 scoreable points. Each beam measures more than 28 inches long.

“I couldn’t move the buck,” said Jack. “I started running back toward the house until I met Dad coming out with a tractor. He had heard me shoot. We used the tractor to get the deer back to the house and loaded in my truck.”

The buck was carried to a neighbor’s farm-equipment building. Jack said the massive, soybean-fed buck was weighed on farm scales at 240 pounds—dressed weight.

“I have had the mount hanging on the wall all these years,” said Jack. “Several people said it was a big deer, but I just never thought it was big enough to be a Boone & Crockett deer.

Jack Garrison, 34 at the time, with his buck on Thanksgiving Day 1983. Seventeen years later he would learn the buck scored as a Boone & Crockett.

Finally, last month his friend Vernon Brooks asked if he could take the mount to have it scored at the Buckarama. At the show, the buck was scored by official Boone & Crockett scorer Bill Cooper. The rack gross-scored over 190 and after more than 14 inches in symmetry deductions and over 5 inches in abnormal points deductions, the rack netted 170 5/8 inches — 5/8 above the B&C typical-rack minimum.

After 17 years, Jack’s buck takes its place on Georgia’s list of 91 all-time Boone & Crockett bucks. Georgia now claims 65 typical-racked record-book bucks and 26 non-typical B&C bucks.

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