photo of a deer killed by Justin Gregoryphoto of a deer killed by Justin Gregoryphoto of a deer killed by Justin Gregory

Hunter: Justin Gregory

Points: 11 (6L, 5R)

County: Walker

Season: 2023-2024

Hunt Story

This buck has been on and off of my granddad’s farm since 2021. I saw him twice from the stand that year and aged him at 3.5 years old. I also had him on camera then and throughout most of 2022 when he disappeared from my cameras around 11/10/22. I had no footage of him again until late September this year. He reappeared with the longest, heaviest body of any buck that has ever walked the farm and good mass in his rack. The brow points have always been his defining characteristic. I decided that he was the one to go after this fall. I took 11/2 and 11/3 off from work to hunt the post full moon ten-day window. I felt lucky when I saw the cold front in the forecast. Our best hunting is always the last half of November, but hunting is hunting and the best time to go is anytime that you can. Those two days produced combined sightings of four adult antlerless deer and four younger bucks. My granddad hunted a new ladder stand near the creek on our place on 11/3 and saw fourteen deer, all small. He told me that I could hunt his stand on Saturday if I would shoot a deer, either a mature buck, a management buck, or an adult doe. I agreed with the idea for me to hunt it and shoot a deer. I was in the stand thirty minutes before legal shooting light and the temperature was 29 degrees. I did not see a deer until 8:40 and I watched a six-point, a spike, and a doe with fawn pass by in the next twenty minutes. The next deer that came through were four adult does and I was getting ready to shoot one of them when they all started watching the way that they had come. I looked that direction and there he was with his nose straight up in the air and a mass of antler protruding from each side of his head. He cut over in the woods on the other side of a roadbed before I could get on him. He was after one of those does and I tried to stop him, but he was not listening and I fired standing and offhand while he was on the move. He went down at the shot and I did not see him run away nor did I hear him thrashing around in the brush. I climbed down thirty minutes later and the buck rose and bolted into a clover plot just outside the wood line. He stopped in the corner and I fired an offhand shot only to see him trot into the woods. I went to where he had stood when I fired the second shot and found blood. I also tracked from the first shot and found blood in the woods. I waited an hour to begin tracking the buck from the clover plot. I found blood to the creek where there was a puddle of it on gravel bar. I walked across a beaver dam to get to the opposite bank and as I reached the top of the bank, the buck jumped up ten feet in front of me and ran along the creek with his tail down, crossed it and disappeared in the woods on the other side. The buck twice had bedded down in close proximity to the shot locations and that led me, along with the down tail, to believe that he was mortally wounded. However, the blood trail was not strong and I worried that if I pursued him further that he might run off of the property. I waited another hour and tried to get in touch with a tracking dog. Cellular service is spotty at the farm and I was struggling to get the internet to work on my phone. I then noticed a text from my friend, Ross Medley, that had the name and number of a local tracking dog. I was able to reach Dean Barron of Ringgold, GA. I told him the circumstances and he agreed to bring his dog. He arrived and I took him to the spot and his dog went to work. It took only about five minutes for his dog to locate my buck piled up against a log about forty yards from the creek. He is the heaviest buck to ever come off of the farm. My granddad says that it is the largest body that he has seen in his sixty-plus years of deer hunting, and he has hunted in the mountains and in the Piedmont in addition to the northwest Georgia counties. The buck’s weight and brow points are exceptional for Walker County. Many thanks to my granddad, Ross Medley, and the Dean Barron tracking team.
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