Hunter: Brad Bagwell
Points: 8 (4L, 4R)
I had the deer many times on camera during the 2022-23 season. He would bed against an old logging deck sight that was very thick. If he heard a truck, side-by-side or 4-wheeler, he would not show himself at all. After determining this, I hunted the deer during the week when no other hunters were present at our club. I only had two weeks of season left, and I walked a half mile the only two hunts my schedule allowed. There was no way to approach the stand other than by walking the trail I had cut. My foot steps were always light but my feet did crunch leaves, which I felt he heard. I only hunted him when I thought the wind was in my favor. He again didn't show, so I knew he had me pegged all along. The deer was traveling about a mile from a neighboring farmers tract of land. The farmer hunted by himself, which made me feel he had the upper hand when I'm a member of a club with 10 members and a good bit of hunting pressure. That deer passed by several club members stand sights undetected and was coming to my stand area. I had a corn feeder running at all times but also used another attractant that may have been the key but not sure. This went on for an entire season, and the deer made this same route continuously. August of this year comes around and the farmer gets photos of this deer again with 90% of them being at night. I started running cameras two days later out of excitement knowing he made it through the summer. We both shared photos until Oct. 6, and the deer vanished. On Friday, Oct. 20, the deer shows up on camera at my feeder at 7 a.m. I knew I had to act since he'd never been seen much during daylight hours. I get in the stand Sunday morning, Oct, and it's a little after 8 a.m. and no sighting. The wind is perfect, and I'm not worried about his previous years bedding sight because the loggers had reused that deck as a staging sight for trailers. Therefore, his bed was gone so I felt I had a chance. I've never had the deer on camera after 7:30 a.m., and I check my phone, and it’s 8:20 a.m. At this point I'm thinking, another failed attempt and will I ever get a chance? When I looked up, it’s him, and he's headed straight down a planted pine row in my direction. I took my shot and dropped him. I was so excited, as this is my biggest Georgia deer in my 33 years of hunting, and I killed it with a rifle I inherited from my great uncle. Not only did I kill my biggest deer ever in Georgia, but I did so with the man's rifle that got me hooked at the age of 9. I know there was a big smile from above, and I owe my success to him. Thanks so much Uncle Joe, this bucks for you!