Huge Velvet Buck Had 17 Points, 200+ Inches
Russ Chastain 12.27.19
A few weeks ago, a huge whitetail buck was taken in southwest Georgia — and it’s one of those bucks for which the term “non-typical” was invented.
Almost always, antlers (as opposed to horns) are grown and shed annually. Each year, these amazing bonelike growths emerge from the skull, growing into branched artwork while covered with a blood-rich material called “velvet.” When the time is right, they harden, then after a few months, they fall off or “shed.”
In rare cases, a buck’s antlers simply continue to grow, remaining in velvet perpetually, never fully hardening nor shedding. And in this case the result was a fairly amazing freak of nature.
It was taken in early December 2019 in southwest Georgia by Clay Crawford, who had first seen the buck on trail cam photos two years earlier. And even though, in his words, he is “picky about what deer [he] kill[s],” he would have taken the buck if he’d gotten the opportunity. But he did not.
The 2018 season saw Clay and most others in his area rebuilding in the wake of hurricane Michael, and he didn’t hunt at all. This year, though, was another story according to GON’s article.
He put out a camera on a farm where he hunts, and soon captured photos of the buck, which had become a giant.
‘He was just giant. He had grown tremendously in two years.
Clay set up a ground blind and waited for the wind to be right. This took longer than he wished, but on the day of a Christmas party it was finally right. Telling his wife they might be late to the party, he grabbed a rifle and headed to the woods. The weather was overcast with light rain.
‘I was running late and got in the blind at 4:45 p.m. About 5:25, a spike walked out and fed for 15 minutes and left out the back of the shooting lane. It was getting hard to see because of the weather conditions. Not long after the spike left, I saw some deer movement about 100 yards away. I looked through my scope, and my heart stopped!’
It was the giant velvet buck, but he was coming straight down the shooting lane toward Clay, and taking his time about it.
‘I was not going to take a straight-on shot, I just wasn’t,’ Clay said. ‘Meanwhile I’m watching this buck for like 10 minutes.’
Another deer walked out at the back of the shooting lane, and the big buck turned to look back. Clay had his shot, and he squeezed the trigger on his 243. He stayed in the blind for about 10 minutes, but the rain was picking up. He walked down the lane to where the buck had been standing and found some brown hair, but no blood.
‘By then it was flooding rain. I just had my cell phone light, and I looked off the edge of the shooting lane a little bit, but I didn’t want to jump him. I just decided I’d play it safe and come back and find him in the morning. We went to the Christmas party, and I’m doubting myself all night. I didn’t tell anyone about the buck except for my wife.’
It rained more than 2 inches overnight. The next morning Clay spent about 20 minutes searching the woods to the side of the lane the buck was facing when he shot.
‘I decided to make a loop on the left side of the lane. I walked about 20 yards and saw something unusual. It was the deer. It had been covered up with leaves by a bobcat. The only thing exposed was his rack. The bobcat had eaten the back ham of the deer before covering him up.The deer had obviously run the opposite direction he was facing. He only ran about 40 yards. The flash from the gun must have blinded me.’
Hmmm. Not sure I buy the bobcat bit (I’ve never seen a bobcat that could eat that much), but either way this is a very fortunate hunter — especially hunting large bucks with a dinky cartridge like the 243 Win (in my opinion).
The rack is pretty amazing — especially the 10-inch tine that protrudes from the buck’s face right behind its eye!
The most probable reason for the ever-growing 17-point rack was a lack of testosterone. As the article states, “the buck had male parts, but there wasn’t anything going on in the sack.”
It’s truly a buck of a lifetime, and Crawford can look back on Dec 12, 2019 with a smile whenever he thinks about connecting with the most amazing velvet buck he’s likely to ever lay eyes on.