photo of a deer killed by Ron Barnettphoto of a deer killed by Ron Barnettphoto of a deer killed by Ron Barnett

Hunter: Ron Barnett

Points: 15 (8L, 7R)

County: Thomas

Season: 2019-2020

Hunt Story

The Story of Prospect – a South Georgia Monarch. The story of this hunt began in the Summer of 2016 when I spotted in our game camera photos a very nice 1 1/2-year-old 8-point that to me appeared to have a lot of potential as a trophy buck. He had a much better rack than any of the other bucks in his age class. We normally name our 8-point and better bucks, so I named him “Prospect” and put out the word in our hunting group that he was not to be shot. I passed on him twice during the fall of 2016 but one of the grandson must have missed that memo because when Prospect walked by him – Blam!! The grandson said he fell but managed to get back up and scuffle off. So he got down to check on him and could not find the deer. We called the dog tracking man but no luck, no deer. A couple days later we got photos of Prospect alive and sporting a relative large wound on his neck. The wound did not seem to bother him and he made it through the rest of that season fine. The scar on his neck proved to be a good way to identify him in future years. When the 2017 hunting season began, Prospect was a beautiful 10-pointer. He also was quite a bully and managed to break off several of his tines before we had a chance at him, so we decided to let him pass the rest of that season. I found one of his sheds in a peanut field and noticed that it had taken off some of the pedicle when it came off and likely his next set of horns would be messed up. Sure enough late in the summer of 2018 he was sporting a fountain of horns for his right antler and his left antler was normal, but on the whole was very impressive and we decided he would make a good European mount. The grandson had first chance at him and shot him and drew blood, but we could not find him so we called the dog tracking guy again, but no luck. He appeared back on the game cameras a few days later with no visible wound. He apparently was injured because in Dec. of 2018 he shed his antlers at least 2-3 months before he should have. We noticed that he started growing his horns for Fall 2019 several months before the other bucks. During the summer we noticed that he was growing a very impressive set of antlers and even had a large 10-inch drop tine on one side. So when the Fall of 2019 arrived, Prospect was at the top of everyone in the hunting group’s list of shooters. He did manage to break off the drop tine but was still very impressive and was much better than we expected considering his history. When September came he did not shed his velvet like the other bucks and he seemed less aggressive. All the members of our hunting group wanted to get Prospect. My son Brad even bought a crossbow and hunted Prospect hard during the archery season. It seems that Prospect was getting smarter as he did not make a single daylight appearance until that fateful day December 21, 2019. I noticed from our Moultrie cellular game cameras that Prospect had made a visit to the Crossroads Stand which is in the middle of our hunting area at 4:27 AM the previous day. So when my son Brad and I went out Saturday morning I tried to get Brad to go to the Crossroad Stand but he had different plans, so I decided I would try it for the first time I had been there this season. Sure enough at 7:27 am Prospect walks into my shooting lane. I fired my Browning A-Bolt .270 Win rifle. Prospect ran back the way he had come. I texted Brad and told him we had a tracking job to do. Prospect managed to go about 150 yards but left a good blood trail. It was a good double lung shot so we did not have to call the dog tracking guy. All that was left was the celebration!! A footnote – when we examined Prospect It revealed he only had a single small testicle. It is apparent to me that the grandson shot Prospect in the testicles the previous year when we didn’t see any visible signs of injury. The reduced hormone level affected his velvet shedding and attitude. He also had a nice clean bullet hole in one ear – not sure when he got that. He was 4 1/2 years old, weighed 201 pounds, had 15 points, and a 18 3/4-inch inside spread. This was the 4th set of horns we had seen him grow. One moral from this story is, “You have to grow them before you can harvest them.”
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