On Nov. 21, Jimmy Rhodes, of Chester, and his buddy Frog Mullis, owner of Frog’s Buck Shop Taxidermy in Hawkinsville, went on a scouting trip at the Westlake Tract, an archery-only area of Ocmulgee WMA in Twiggs County. After splitting up, Jimmy stumbled upon an incredible find—a massive black-bear skull.
“I didn’t know if I could take the skull or what the legality of it was since it was a WMA, so I left and called the area manager,” Jimmy said. After hunting the next morning, he got a call that said it was OK to take the skull, so Jimmy got it and took it straight to the check station. WRD Senior Biologist Bobby Bond, an official Boone & Crockett measurer, took one look at it and knew he needed to pull a tape on it. The official score was 21 4/16 inches, easily eclipsing the B&C minimum of 21 inches for a black bear to make the all-time record book.
Bobby said it’s the first and only Booner bear from middle Georgia that he’s aware of, although he said there are likely several record-class bear skulls from Georgia that haven’t been measured, particularly in south Georgia. He said there have been four bears from middle Georgia that scored between 20 inches and the record-book minimum of 21 inches. Three of those were road-kills, and one was killed illegally over bait last year during middle Georgia’s first one-day bear season.
Bobby said he wasn’t able to age Jimmy’s bear skull, but he said it must have been from a huge animal.
“I would have loved to have seen that bear.”