Hunter: Jason McFarland
Points: 8 (4L, 4R)
Before the 2018 season began I decided I would only kill 5 1/2-year-old or older bucks on our Hancock County lease. But by the time November 10th got here, I was down to only one 5 1/2 on camera. The largest of the three I had been watching for two years disappeared once he went hard horn, and the smallest of the three was killed on the neighboring property the previous Sunday, leaving me one buck to chase, a buck we call Pitchfork. The week of Halloween I had Pitchfork on three different cameras, with morning and afternoon daylight pics on Halloween day. On the morning of November 10th I hunted a ground blind on a stretch of creek bottom that connects the three areas where I had the most recent pics of him. By 9:00 I was already getting frustrated, as November had turned terribly slow after I passed multiple 4 1/2s and had a close call with a 5 1/2 in Putnam County during October. But at 9:15 all my frustration disappeared when I saw Pitchfork coming down the creek with his nose on the ground. I had to swivel hard to the right to get on him, and he stopped broadside in the wide open sun lit woods at my grunt, just a beautiful sight! That is until my cushion slid off the chair, and I fell in the floor!!! I quickly got back up to one knee and got my gun out one of the windows just in time to see him jump back across the creek and head dead away with his nose to the ground going through a cane thicket. I tried grunting and yelling, but he wasn’t stopping this time, so I took what I had and squeezed the trigger as he was about to disappear in my scope. It wasn’t just “luck” that I saw him, but no doubt “luck” blessed me when my bullet found its mark, dropping him in his tracks. It was like a hail Mary touchdown with no time left on the clock. When I got to him I was surprised how much bigger he was in person then in all the pics I had of him, especially his mass. Just simply a beautiful GA whitetail in my book. Letting them get to 5 1/2 makes a world of difference, just not easy passing them at 4 1/2!! The icing on the cake was when my dad and two good friends joined me in the woods to take pictures and celebrate...not sure it gets much better!!!