photo of a deer killed by Bret Rudesealphoto of a deer killed by Bret Rudesealphoto of a deer killed by Bret Rudeseal

Hunter: Bret Rudeseal

Points: 8 (4L, 4R)

County: Screven

Season: 2023-2024

Hunt Story

Shortly after good daylight, I saw an adult doe coming my general direction, from off to my left. She was about mid-way from the top of the ridge down towards the bottom. She was running at fast trot and occasionally stopped and looked back. She continued toward me, and then quickly past my stand, off to my right! Just about the time she was out of view, I looked back to my left and saw a large figure of a deer with its head down, moving at a relatively quick pace. Every few steps, the deer stopped and raised his head up to smell the air and let out a short, but loud grunt. I knew it was a buck at that point. As he continued my direction, and then passing to my right, I could see he a very good QUALITY deer! I placed the crosshairs of my rifle scope on his right, front shoulder, let out a doe bleat and he stopped in his tracks at approximately 125 yards. I pulled the trigger and he dropped like a sack of potatoes! I continued to watch him lay there through my scope for about 15 minutes before coming down from my stand. I knew where he was, so there was no tracking required and I walked straight towards where I knew he would be. As I started getting closer, I could see his antlers and I started thinking to myself "his rack looks bigger than what I thought it was when I pulled the trigger". As I continued towards him, his antlers seemed to grow, as his body did as well! As I finally put my hands on him, I knew this was the biggest-bodied Georgia deer I had ever seen firsthand, and that this was the biggest rack from a Georgia deer I had ever harvested. After admiring him for a few minutes, I realized I was alone, and I was going to have to drag this guy up the hill and to my truck by myself. The ground was a little damp from the early morning dew, so I decided to try something that I had always wondered about. I went to my truck and got some rope and a vinyl tarp. Upon returning to the deer, I worked the tarp underneath him and secured it with rope. I tied another rope to the one that I used to secure the deer, and then started my uphill trek to my truck. After pulling on him just a minute or so, I thought of how this seemed much easier than dragging a deer across the ground without a tarp. After a couple more minutes, I started thinking "this deer is heavy". After a couple more minutes I had to stop and take a breather. I thought to myself I hope I don't have a heart attack trying to get him to the truck! After several more minutes of pulling and dragging my deer (and taking several breaks), my truck was in site. I started pulling with a little regained strength and enthusiasm, only to realize when I arrived at my truck, I was still alone and would have no help lifting this guy up onto the tailgate. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I devised a plan that would require lifting the front portion of the deer and then tying off a rope to prevent him from falling back. The plan seemed to work well until the front half of the deer was up on the tailgate, but the rear portion of the deer was still on the ground. I decide at that point that I would have to manhandle the beast the rest of the way up into the back of my truck. After getting into position in the bed of my truck, I pulled with everything I had left. The deer started to slip backwards and I quickly thought that If I don't get him up into the bed now, I'm in big trouble. With one last desperate burst of energy, I somehow found the strength to slowly get control of the dead weight and then into the bed of the truck he came. Upon getting him into the bed of the truck, I laid there next to my prized trophy for more than 20 minutes before moving. I slowly got up to admire not only the trophy buck that I had just harvested, but also to appreciate what I had been able to accomplish.
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