Public-Land Georgia Whitetail With 22-inch Inside Spread
Russ Chastain 11.18.19
Most deer hunters dream of taking a really impressive buck. Sure, we shoot does to fill the freezer and to manage the herd, but a really huge wall-hanger would surely tickle us. Especially if we managed to get that freezer-filling trophy on public land.
That’s exactly what happened to Tony Jones on November 2, 2019 in Georgia’s Oconee National Forest, and the spot he was hunting wasn’t even his first choice.
Tony, who has hunted ONF for 10 years, said a hunting area near a powerline was where he wanted to hunt that morning, but somebody had already beat him there. Being a good public-land hunter, Tony had plenty of other places to try.
‘I knew there were a bunch of scrapes in the area (I ended up hunting) from being in there a couple of weeks earlier,’ said Tony.
It was already daylight when he got in there and set up his blind, slipped inside and got settled in when he heard footsteps approaching.
‘I take a look out the blind window, and I see the deer walking down the hill from the pine thicket,’ said Tony. ‘I got a good look at him with the binoculars, and I saw one side of his rack, so I knew it was a buck. I grabbed my rifle, and I put the scope on him, and he’s facing me at this time, so I see how wide he is. I immediately get on his shoulder, squeezed the trigger and down he went.
‘It took me more time to walk in than to sit there and take the deer.’
Perhaps the best part of all this is that he was hunting with a Savage 308 rifle his father-in-law had recently given him — along with a request that he shoot a deer with it. So it was a special gun for a once-in-a-lifetime buck. Nice!
As near as I can tell from the photo, it’s either a 9- or 10-pointer. No score was reported in the original article. No matter what, it’s an impressive beast.
Tony is hoping to pass the rifle down to his son.