The 6 1/2-year-old, non-typical buck watched the field as eight deer ahead of him leaped effortlessly one at a time over the fence like graceful ballerinas to feed in the meadow as the north Atlanta suburb sun kissed the golden horizon. It was another sunset worthy of a Terry Redlin painting.
He was the king in these woods. His giant antler frame had 25 points, and he easily grossed more that 200 inches. A once in a decade Georgia Giant was at his peak and in his prime.
He had survived two poorly placed archery shots from two different bowhunters. The first shot was in the left shoulder when the buck was 2 1/2, and the second arrow connected in the top of the left shoulder when he was 3 1/2. Because of those two wounds, he had earned the name “Scar.”
Scar waited like a ghost in the shadows of the dense forest, invisible to the bowhunter who named him and was now sitting high in a climbing stand on the corner of the field, perched discreetly near the small creek that flowed into the Chattahoochee River a half mile down the hill.
The hunter watched the eight deer as they fed into the field heading along the edge toward the tree he was harnessed to. The wind was blowing gently off the field from the north, a calculated strategy by the bowhunter. The hunter watched the last deer through his binoculars carefully.
Suddenly, a mature doe looked back into the woods where the giant stood motionless. Scar knew the hunter was in the tree 80 yards away.
The hunter smiled, whispering to himself, “She just told me you are there big boy. Come on out, and hang with your friends.”
The hunter and Scar knew each other very well. Scar had lived on the north Fulton County property in an unincorporated area called Shakerag for 4 1/2 out of the 6 1/2 years of his life. Last year Scar had quit bedding on this property because he no longer felt safe there. The property had been placed under contract for a large development. Surveyors, EPA crews, Johns Creek city officials, timber people and others had all been stomping constantly throughout the once safe bedding areas where this deer had lived. Scar and four other nice bucks had moved down the hill toward the river to a quieter bedding place during the day, but they would all return after dark to feed and roam the property where he was born 6 1/2 years ago.
The hunter, known by his archery buddies as “Wolf,” had not seen the deer at all last season during the day but had many trail-cam photos of him in the area at night. All the commotion on the property had really messed up the way the deer moved that year, but there was nothing that could be done. In addition to that bad luck, Wolf suffered a shoulder injury and missed most of the season last year.
This year he was using a crossbow. The clock was ticking. The property would close (sell) on the first of November, and there would be no more hunting opportunities to harvest the trophy buck that Wolf had chosen to let mature into a Georgia Giant. Wolf had let the buck walk many times when Scar was the ages of 2, 3 and 4, knowing he could be a Boone and Crockett trophy if the deer lived that long.
While it was still good daylight, the eight deer had fed slowly across the field moving by his stand, but Wolf let them pass without releasing a shot from his crossbow. Even though Wolf sensed he wouldn’t have a shot in range, he wanted to see Scar one last time.
Wolf was mainly watching the oldest doe in the field as she kept looking back to where all the deer had jumped the fence an hour and a half earlier. Suddenly, all the deer looked to that same spot. Wolf whispered to himself, “It is time,” and very, very slowly he put his binoculars to the eyes.
There he stood in all his glory. He looked at the other deer as if to acknowledge them honoring his presence. Then, Scar looked directly at Wolf high in the tree stand as if to say, “I know you are there.” Wolf smiled to himself and whispered, “Hello old friend.”
Scar jumped the fence and slowly and majestically moved across the field safely away from the hunter’s stand to join the other deer. Wolf never stopped looking through his binoculars, amazed at the size of the once in a lifetime buck. Forty minutes later the nine deer had moved off the field, vanishing into the oaks to feed.
Quietly, Wolf eased his Ol’Man climber stand down the tree to leave while the field was empty. Surgically, he removed the stand from the tree and shouldered it. Slowly and quietly, he walked away. He paused at the top of the hill and looked back observing the big field, now illuminated under a rising near half moon.
“Good-bye,” he whispered.
It was the last time Wolf would ever hunt this beautiful property he had hunted so long. As Wolf drove to his house 15 minutes away, he again played in his head the scenarios in which Scar would be harvested. He knew of at least 12 other hunters in the Shakerag area who had trail-cam photos of Scar and were bowhunters seriously committed to taking this once in a lifetime buck. Wolf knew there had to be other hunters, too. Word of a buck this size travelled fast with today’s technology, and word was out.
Wolf walked into his house and picked up Scar’s antlers he had found the previous spring in the field he had left moments earlier. The long, high, thick sheds had serious mass, 14 total points and easily scored 160 inches. Wolf had found them in perfect condition in a spring food plot. Again, he and Scar knew each other very well.
Over a month passed. On Dec. 11, 2013, Wolf was working on a project at home when he received a text from a Johns Creek police officer who had helped patrol the property that had sold six weeks earlier. The text read: “We think somebody just hit your deer on Bell Road.”
Included in the text was a photo of a mangled deer on a wrecker flatbed laying lifeless. There were two splintered bases of shattered antlers both a few inches long. On one of the broken bases was a long brow tine. Instantly, Wolf recognized the brow tine as one of Scars long stiletto-like tines. He enlarged the photo to see it more clearly. It was Scar. He was dead, and his antlers had been broken off.
Thankfully no one in the Toyota Camry that hit Scar was injured in the wreck, but a sick feeling overcame Wolf as he sat down and stared at the deer in the photo. There were no giant antlers on the deer.
Wolf thought to himself, “The antlers must be in two pieces either on the wrecker or at the scene of the accident, and if so, hopefully no one picked them up.” Wolf had to know. He thought if he could get the two pieces, he might be able to get the two broken splintered bases and maybe save the antlers.
Wolf jumped into his Tahoe and minutes later was driving along Bell Road. He was looking for any sign of an accident. As he started down a long hill, Wolf saw skid marks and then lots of broken glass in the road. As he slowed down, he saw small pieces of car parts on both sides of the road. Then he spotted where the vehicle had obviously come to a stop where car fluids had left large stains in the road and into the gutter on the curb. Wolf pulled safely off the highway. He grabbed a flashlight and walked back to the place the wrecked vehicle had stopped.
There were small, plastic pieces of car everywhere. Wolf shined the light up the side of the road. He saw nothing but leaves from all the area’s hardwoods. Wolf slowly walked along the north shoulder of the road looking for both antlered sections from Scar. Wolf was about 30 yards away from the car fluids in the road when he saw something in his flashlight beam. There in the leaves was a piece of antler about 3 inches long.
Wolf dropped to his knees and picked it up. It had blood on it. He smelled it. It smelled musky like Scar. He stood up and shined the light around the area. There, about 4 feet away was another piece of splintered antler. Ten yards away was another.
Wolf was starting to shiver from the cold front blowing in. The wind was gusting from the first real winter cold front, and Wolf had left the house not even thinking about the weather. In his mind, he had come to pick up two antler beams and return home.
Two hours passed, and Wolf had found six pieces of broken antlers. Wolf had had enough. His hands and feet were freezing, his eyes were watering from the gusts, and his face was stinging as he walked to the Tahoe, got in and drove home. The broken and splintered antler pieces were in the floorboard.
Wolf realized that no one had picked the antlers up because there were no large antlers to pick up. They had exploded on impact of the collision, and God only knew where the other pieces were.
Wolf returned the next morning at sunrise. It was raining lightly. It didn’t matter. Again, Wolf started searching the colorful, wet leaves. Soon he was picking up antler pieces of the giant buck he had known for 6 1/2 years. One piece of antler was found 30 yards off the highway, partially exposed in the blanket of leaves at a 60 degree angle from where the car hit the deer.
Wolf came back to the crash scene every day to search as time allowed. Four days later and 284 feet down the highway from the collision, Wolf found a small piece of antler pressed into the mud where the ground met the edge of the asphalt.
Wolf spent more than 40 hours over a period of 28 days relentlessly searching for all the pieces of antler. On the 28th day, Wolf found the last missing piece lying on top of some leaves the highway department had blown back off the shoulder of the road. Wolf had walked over that spot at least 10 times before not knowing it was buried under the blanket of leaves. Relieved, Wolf took out his iPhone and photographed the missing piece of the puzzle. Wolf returned home holding the antler tip in his hand as he drove.
When Wolf got home, he called a man named Tom Sexton, a man known for repairing antlers, who lived in Iowa. Wolf was earlier able to get Scar’s scull from the towing company, so he now had all the missing pieces. They were sent to Tom to see if a reconstruction could be made.
After many phone conversations and e-mailing countless trail-cam photos of Scar, Tom worked and worked. Wolf had decided to restore Scar as a European mount for two reasons. Number one, Scar’s skull was crushed beyond repair, so a composite skull was used. Number two, out of respect to Scar due to the fact no hunter had harvested the animal, Wolf was opposed to mounting Scar’s antlers on another deer.
Tom went to work, saying it would be a slow process. It took Tom a year to return Scar’s once majestic antlers back to their original glory.
Wolf had only told two of his hunting buddies he had picked up the broken pieces of antlers the year before.
In January 2014, GON published a short article with Scar on the wrecker and a trail-camera photo of him the night before he was killed. There had been much debate over exactly how big Scar’s antlers were before he was killed that night in December by the Camry.
Needless to say, it caused quite a stir at the 2015 GON Outdoor Blast when Wolf brought in Scar to be scored. Scar’s score can never be officially listed in a record book or in any of GON’s county rankings because his rack was broken. Still, we wanted an unofficial score so we could at least have a close idea of what Scar would have actually scored officially.
Tom Sexton had stated he thought the deer would score 205 inches, and Wolf guessed between 187 and 190 inches.
Bill Cooper, an official B&C scorer, measured Scar’s amazing antlers at 206 2/8 non-typical inches gross, and he only had 5 inches of deductions, which put him at 200 2/8 inches net. A Boone & Crockett, even if unofficial.
If Scar had been hit by a vehicle and its rack kept in tack, it would have ranked as the highest scoring “pick-up” rack in Georgia history. If it would have been killed with a bow, it would have ranked as Georgia’s No. 2 bow-kill of all time.
Even though a score will never be official, Scar will go down in deer history as a once in a lifetime buck. He is truly a legend and Georgia’s No. 1 road-kill.
Editor’s Note: Wolf’s real name is Freddy Dollar, the author. Freddy kept a journal on Scar and a few other bucks on that property. The above story is just the short excerpt from “The Last Arrow, The True Story of Scar, a Shakerag Legend.” The full story is available online at www.freddydollar.com and coming soon in a book of true hunting stories that hunters of all ages will want to read.