On Nov. 14, Jeromy Loftin, of Canton, harvested a giant Cherokee County buck while hunting with a bow, a 15-point buck that had become known as “Hoss.”
Jeromy started off bowhunting early in the season in Cobb and Fulton counties. He was after a few big bucks in Cobb and Fulton, so he didn’t hunt his Cherokee County property until the first of November.
“I had a big 10-point showing up on trail camera regularly that I was really after on my Cherokee County property,” said Jeromy, “until I checked my camera on Nov. 13.”
That’s when Hoss, a large, wide buck with 15 points showed up on camera at 5:50 working a scrape. This scrape was regularly used by the big 10-point Jeromy was after. Jeromy immediately knew the quest for this giant buck he named Hoss had begun.
What Jeromy experienced on this Cherokee County property is that hunting a particular area where the bucks were bedding and coming from required a certain wind. Jeromy knew he had to be patient, and eventually the right time to hunt would come. Turns out, he didn’t have to wait long.
“The next morning, Saturday, Nov. 14, the conditions were perfect—high pressure, cold front and a perfect wind,” said Jeromy. “I settled in my stand a half hour before daylight and planned on hunting all day but just to come out for lunch.”
At 8 a.m., Jeromy caught movement 60 yards behind him in a thicket. Jeromy caught a glimpse of antlers for a brief second but couldn’t find anything in his binoculars.
“All that was going through my head was I needed to move closer to the thicket,” said Jeromy. “So at 12:00, I finally climbed down since I didn’t see any deer. I heard a few gun shots near by, and all I could think about was what if another hunter killed Hoss.”
Jeromy’s heart and confidence was low since he only bowhunted. Jeromy is dedicated to archery hunting only and gave up rifle hunting in 2000.
“I talked to a few buddies at lunch who hunt Cobb and Fulton when I climbed down to eat,” said Jeromy. “They talked about seeing bucks chasing all morning, which made me almost not want to go back to the Cherokee County property.”
Jeromy decided to go back and move the stand 70 yards into the thicket where he saw the antlers that morning. Jeromy chose a tree that he could watch the scrape that Hoss was working in the trail-camera picture, but the wind was not ideal for the tree.
“It was all or nothing,” said Jeromy. “So I was back in at 2 p.m. I felt nervous on how thick it was.”
With zero confidence at this new spot, Jeromy decided to wait it out and hopefully catch Hoss slipping through. At 5:20 p.m., Jeromy heard the distinctive sound of a deer moving in the leaves.
“As luck would have it, Hoss came by the tree I was in that morning,” said Jeromy. “He was less than 20 yards in the wide open. The only thing that came to mind was to get a picture of him, nobody would believe what a giant buck I was watching”
Hoss disappeared out of sight. Jeromy decided to give out a few soft grunts. Hoss appeared again and was headed toward his stand.
“He stopped behind a huge oak tree, and all I could see was his neck and rack,” said Jeromy. “He has his head high, checking scent. I had some doe pee out.”
Feeling like an eternity, Jeromy ranged the oak tree at 34 yards and moved his HHA sight to 35.
“Hoss started walking, and I stopped him with my mouth,” said Jeromy. “I touched off and watched the arrow fly. I hit him exactly where I aimed, double lung!”
As buck fever set in after the shot, Jeromy’s first call was to his son in college, Dylan, who is usually Jeromy’s hunting partner. However, due to school, Jeromy and Dylan didn’t get to hunt together last season. Dylan could tell by the tone of his dad’s voice that he has shot a good one.
“It took me an hour to get myself together and climb down,” said Jeromy. “I got climbed down, I called my wife to tell her I shot a giant and to be ready. I was coming to get her.”
Like most hunters, Jeromy has a rule. Unless he see’s the deer go down, wait at least an hour to try and recover. The shot was perfect, but Jeromy needed time to calm down and take it all in.
“Me and my wife returned at about 7:15,” said Jeromy. “I found my arrow. At that moment, I knew Hoss was mine.”
The arrow was covered in lung blood. At this point, Jeromy was extremely confident in finding Hoss.
“I followed a heavy blood trail for about 60 yards, and there he laid,” said Jeromy. “I freaked out! It felt like a dream how it all took place. After a short drag, I was calling all my hunting buddies and took pictures.”
After shooting Hoss, Jeromy got contacted by local hunters in the area telling him they had trail-camera pictures of Hoss but had never showed or told anyone.
“A buddy I hunt with took a picture of Hoss while he was in velvet running with a bachelor group in the early season,” said Jeromy. “But, he never told me he took the pictures. He took the pictures roughly 2 miles away, which just goes to show how far big bucks travel during the rut. This hunt was special, but I wished my son was there to share this moment with me.”
Once the drying period was over, Jeromy Loftin chose to have his giant buck officially scored. Frederick Poirier was the official B&C scorer. Hoss is a main-frame 10-pointer with five abnormal points that measure 15 6/8 total inches. Hoss ended up with an impressive non-typical net score of 172 2/8 inches, and he grossed 176 3/8 inches, with very few side-to-side deductions on his typical frame. According to GON’s official County-by-County rankings, Jeromy’s buck is the third-best ever recorded from Cherokee County, and the second-best bow-buck ever from Cherokee.
No doubt, this was a true trophy for Jeromy. This was a true experience meeting Jeromy and Fredrick, plus seeing that buck of a lifetime in person and watching the scoring of Hoss was very memorable and special for me.