A giant, 16-point buck has been killed at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge.
The hunter, Joey Bickford, of Valdosta, was drawn for the Nov. 6-8 either-sex quota hunt. On the afternoon of Nov. 6, Joey got in the tree at about 3 p.m.
“Joey had been in his stand about 30 minutes when he heard something coming his way. It was a doe,” said Johnny Porter, of Lake Park.
Johnny is good friends with Joey and was hunting nearby. Johnny is the hunter who shared the story of Joey’s good fortune with GON.
“As the doe ran into view, Joey could hear something else running up behind her, so he didn’t shoot,” said Johnny. “Then out popped big boy! Both deer got to about 45 yards from Joey’s stand and stopped. The buck had stopped under some low-hanging limbs that Joey was looking down though.
"For a few minutes, Joey lost sight of both deer, and then his eyes caught movement. All he could see was the top of the buck’s rack and a portion of the deer’s neck and chest area. Joey thought it was now or never. He was scared that if the doe made another move, the buck would be right behind her. So Joey decided to try for a straight-on chest shot.”
Joey was nervous but made a shot that put the buck right down.
“Before climbing down to check out his trophy, Joey had no idea how big the buck was until he put his hands on those antlers,” said Johnny. “Before then, he thought it was just a nice shooter-size 8-pointer or something.
“When Joey got down to check out the buck, he discovered that his .270 bullet hit the buck in the center of its right eye and exited the center of its right ear canal. One-inch farther to the left, and he would have missed the buck. Luck was on his side for sure.”
Joey was not a GON subscriber at the time and is ineligible for the Truck-Buck contest.
The 180-lb. buck had a third beam that measures 20 inches. The 4 1/2-year-old buck is expected to gross in the 180s and will score as a non-typical.