Two brothers kill giant bucks two days apart on different properties.
What are the odds?
Anybody who hunts deer in Georgia knows the odds against it are astronomical. This isn’t Illinois or Kansas, where giant bucks are killable because of the narrow ribbons of habitat and small woodlots between farms. This is Georgia, where the woods are big, thick, the habitat endless; where an untold number of mature bucks are rarely seen and never get killed.
Luke and Mark Wilkins aren’t strangers to killing big bucks. Luke shot a muzzleloader buck in 2004 that netted 144, and Mark has a bow-buck in the record books, a 2010 buck that netted 129 6/8. The brothers grew up in the woods.
“I’ve been deer hunting since 1978,” Luke said. “When I was 10, there weren’t many deer in Morgan County. I hunted for two seasons before I saw my first deer from the stand. My dad Charles Young taught me and my brother Mark how to hunt. He always killed a good buck every year, and he always made sure we had a great place to hunt. I remember back in the 80s my dad would take pine lighter and put it in his pockets for a cover scent, and he always hunted thick timber or edges of pasture.”
Luke said a key for he and Mark’s success is using trail-cams to inventory and find mature bucks.
“About 10 years ago we started targeting specific bucks. If we target a buck, we do not hunt him unless everything is perfect. If on the cameras we know he’s only coming in at night, we don’t go after him. We only hunt stands early in the season that we can get in and out of without blowing the area. Once the rut starts, we will push in around bedding areas, but we still have a clean route out.”
The first week of gun season saw a cool snap with crisp, clear conditions. The big bucks were moving. On Monday evening Oct. 20, Luke was hunting an alfalfa food plot on an 80-acre tract. There were several does and small bucks in the plot as light faded.
“I never want to climb down and spook deer, so I always do a coyote howl or snort-wheeze to bust them out of the plot. I did a snort-wheeze, and all the deer ran off.”
Luke then saw the 14-pointer, the buck he was hunting, at the edge of plot.
It was just two days later when Mark caught the 12-pointer he was hunting chasing a doe in a food plot.
“I hadn’t killed a buck in five years,” Mark said. “It’s no accident when we do, though. We put in the time 12 months out of the year—deer hunting for us is endless.”