Hunter: Jay Young
Points: 17 (7L, 10R)
We've been watching this deer for four years and hunting him for two. We have a hunting co-op with our neighbors and had agreed as a group to pass the buck up until last year. He broke his right main beam in half in early November of last year, so we again agreed to pass him for the season. This buck shows up on our cameras every year at pre-rut, which is the first week of November for us. We had numerous camera pictures, mostly at night. Based off past knowledge of the deer's pattern and our trail-cam pictures, we were fairly confident of the trail the deer was using. The amount of rubs and scrapes he was making along his main travel route were just insane, so we knew it was a time to make our move. Thankfully my sons and I were able to take a couple days off of work around Thanksgiving, and we decided to go all out after this deer. It was going to be a team effort to hopefully get one of us in a position to get a chance at this once in a lifetime buck. One of my sons saw him Thanksgiving morning but there wasn't enough light to get a bow shot. I was hunting in the same setup that evening, and the deer came in right before dark. I took the shot, and the deer ran off toward a creek. We followed decent blood for several hundred yards until he hit the creek so we backed out. We called Justin and Ethan Strickland of Buck Muscle and asked if they could bring their dogs out to help look. They brought out their dogs, and let me tell you-these guys and their dogs are absolutely top notch. The dogs were able to find the trail, and I finally was able to put my hands on the deer around 1 a.m. We would not have found the deer without their help. I also want to give credit to all the members of the Co-Op we are lucky to be a part of — the amount of dedication and land management it takes to have the chance at a deer like this in Georgia is remarkable. I truly had a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! The buck was unofficially green-scored with a gross right at 180 inches.