Macon County Giant Will Rank High On GON’s Fab-40

It's the time of year when GON gets ready to compile its big buck list from 2015.

Hunter Galloway | June 27, 2016

As GON prepares to publish the annual Fab 40 article, a good ‘un showed up the other day that will appear on the exclusive list—and way up near the top, too. Every August, GON publishes its list of the top-40 bucks taken in Georgia the previous deer season.

Joel Kauffman, of Marshallville, is the latest hunter who will now appear in the illustrious Fab 40 list. After recently having his Macon County buck officially scored, the buck of a lifetime grossed 183 5/8 inches and netted 161 7/8 typical inches.

Joel had seen a big buck on this small tract of property in previous years but was not completely sure if it was the buck he ended up killing. 

“I usually don’t hunt the first few weeks of bow season mainly because of the heat,” said Joel. “It was late September and was cooler than usual. I decided to go out on an evening hunt. Not long after getting set up, a small buck walked out. I was taking videos of him and enjoying watching him feed but not paying attention to my surroundings. At 15 yards, a big buck stepped out. I had to wait until he circled before I could stand up to shoot a 29-yard shot. I let go and heard the arrow hit. I watched the buck run 25 yards and stop. Waiting for the big buck to crash, he just walked off feeding.”

After finding the arrow, there was a little hair and meat but no blood to be seen. Joel ended up searching for hours and never found any blood.

“I ended up seeing this big buck again Thanksgiving Day. He came into range, but I never had a clear shot with my bow. I knew I had to hunt this buck every chance I got but not pressure him too much,” said Joel.

On Dec. 5, Joel went out on another evening hunt hoping to kill or see the big buck he was after. Around 3, Joel was set up and ready to go with his .308 deer rifle.

“Not long into my hunt, I saw a bush moving on the neighboring property,” said Joel. “I got a glimpse of a rack. Thinking it was the big buck I was after, I grunted a few times and the bushes stopped moving. Then the bushes started moving again. Not long after grunting, I heard sticks breaking behind me, and there was the big buck at 60 yards. The buck started coming in and crossed the property line. At about 25 yards, I took the shot. He bolted 75 yards and crashed.”

Shaking, hooting, and hollering, Joel was excited to get down and recover the big buck he’d been after all season. A nice 8-point came in a few minutes later. Joel took videos of this buck and then was ready to climb down.

“We had this giant drug out by dark, and then it was celebration time,” said Joel. “I called a few family members to come check out this big buck, and everyone was having fits at how big he was. I was guessing it was a 140-inch deer, but I knew he was much better. By far the biggest buck I have ever killed. Big thank you J.T. West for letting me hunt and manage his property.”

Joel had this buck officially scored by B&C scorer John West, of Milledgeville. This buck has a gross score of 183 5/8 inches. Minus 21 6/8 of deductions, this buck had a net score of 161 7/8.

Look for Joel’s buck to appear in the August issue in the Fab-40 article. To get your buck officially scored, bring it to GON‘s Outdoor Blast. Scoring hours will be Friday, July 29 from 1-6 p.m. and Saturday, July 30 from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. If you’re not able to make the Blast, call GON at (800) 438-4663

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