A 158 5/8-inch gross-scoring buck was taken from Fort Benning on Nov. 11, Veterans Day, by Russell Wyatt, an infantryman on the 182,000-acre military installation near the Georgia-Alabama border adjacent to Columbus.
Russell has only been hunting a handful of times, but for a man who’s only shot a few deer, he’s now set the bar pretty high for himself. Russell works really late most nights, and it’s very rare for him to get a chance to do any hunting.
However, Russell made the decision that he was going to hunt on Nov. 11. Fort Benning bucks must have at least four points on one side before they can be harvested. Russell saw a small, shooter 8-pointer early that morning but passed him up. After that, Russell decided to move to another area about 400 yards away.
After Russell got set up, a doe came in. He was going to shoot his first doe ever, but when he looked over his shoulder, he saw one of the biggest bucks he’d ever seen. Russell took out his phone and got about a two-second video of the monster buck to send to his friend. After that, Russell grunted, and the buck came in.
“I almost dropped my phone out of the deer stand—that’s how big he was,” said Russell.
At 67 yards, Russell put his Mossberg 930 to use. Russell’s shot put the buck right down. The buck is a main-frame 10-pointer with an abnormal split on its right side G2.
After being in a severe airborne accident, Russell wasn’t able to pull the deer across a swamp and up a hill to the road. He called a buddy to help him get it out of the woods and loaded it into his Hyundai Veloster car.
“All deer on Fort Benning must be checked out. So I took it to the wildlife conservation officer here, and he starts freaking out. He said, ‘Holy cow! That’s a monster!’” said Russell. “And everybody wanted pictures and everything, and that’s when it really sunk in.”
After the required 60-day drying period, the buck will be scored and could top the current Chattahoochee County record, a 152 5/8-inch buck (net score) taken in 2008, according to GON’s official County-by-County records.
The big buck is an awesome gift for someone who doesn’t hunt much because he stays busy serving our country.
Fort Benning is not open to hunting by the general public. To learn more about who is authorized to hunt on Fort Benning and how to acquire the proper permits, go to www.benningmwr.com/hunting-and-fishing.