Hunter: Mark Grogan
Points: 13 (6L, 7R)
As Georgia's 2017 bow season approached, we knew it was definitely going to be a hot one. September seems to always bring on the hottest days of the year, just ask any serious Georgia bowhunter who's braved the 90 plus degree days filled with poisonous snakes, chiggers, and seed ticks to hopefully have a shot at that early season buck they've watch grow since the spring. This buck had started to make appearances regularly starting early summer and was a frequent visitor to our food plots throughout summer of 2017 and into very early bow season, but as mature bucks so often do, he disappeared like a ghost with no sightings from the stand or on camera after early September. Fast forward to early March 2018 while doing some shed hunting, I picked up a left antler with a distinctive split G2 that I knew was a signature of the buck that has slipped away months before. 2018 progressed with with not near as many sightings on camera as 2017, but in July the buck showed up back on camera in one of the food plots he had frequented in the past season. The deer was spotted a few more times on camera leading up to bow season but not near as frequently as the 2017 season, still with hopes held high he was the buck that I wanted to focus in on for the 2018 season. September swept in that famous dry and hot weather it's so know for, with several hours on stand logged the 2018 archery season was a bust, no sightings of the buck nor any trail-camera pictures were taken. It was time to change the game plan, our land is located in Jasper County and also is bordered on one side by Oconee National Forest. I hadn't given up on the buck but decided to venture out and start hunting the ONF just for a change of scenery. Around the end of the first week of October we started to notice some scrapes appearing back on the club and set up a game camera; sure enough after being out a week or so the buck appeared around midnight working a scrape. He then disappeared and was last spotted on the camera on 10/18. Still thinking the best time to target in on the buck was a few weeks out, I decided to focus my hunting on the ONF honing in on fresh scrapes and rubs I had found recently. Opening day of the 2018 gun season started off slow with no deer seen from the stand, the 2nd morning fell to the same fate as the day before. I pulled my stand and decided it was time to move, the wind had finally made a shift that allowed for me to move to an area that I though was closer to where deer were bedding. Back on stand Sunday afternoon I knew the stand move was paying off, three young bucks were seen from the stand cruising the scrape line. Monday morning the action from the stand continued with multiple does and young bucks moving through. I quietly slipped out of the woods late Monday morning for a quick lunch knowing I needed to be back on stand as soon as possible. Back on stand early afternoon there had been no deer movement though the mid part of the afternoon, but around 6:20 p.m. a lone doe emerged from the direction of the bedding area. What happened next is what hunting dreams are made of, I could tell by the young does body reaction she was a little uneasy and looking back toward the direction she came. I saw a large bodied deer come from the the same direction as the doe, but at first I could not make out the rack size, I could only tell he had considerable more mass than the young bucks over the past 2 hunts. It was then that I saw the deer start to make a scrape and at that moment I caught glimpse of the kickers off both main beams and I knew this was the buck we had watched for two years. Doing my best to calm the excitement and nerves, with the buck at only about 30 yards a clean shot brought two years of history to a close.