Rusty Robbins, of Sylvania, should have the new No. 1 bow-kill from Screven County after knocking down a main-frame 10-pointer that grosses 173 4/8 inches. A number of kicker points will bring the net score down some, but they add character to the buck’s remarkable rack.
Rusty has been hunting since he was a young boy and took his first deer at the age of 12, thanks to his dad’s instruction. Rusty has so much of a passion for hunting that it led him to begin Sylvania Sportsman and RPM Land Management.
Rusty was bowhunting private land on the afternoon of Sept. 29, 2018 when he took his buck. This hunt was only his third time going after this particular buck because he was trying not to pressure the deer too much.
“I’ve had a long history with this buck,” said Rusty. “I caught him on camera last year but ended up letting him go because he was a main-frame 8 with a kicker that made him a 9, but he had broken off all but about 4 inches of his right antler.”
Rusty has been feeding the buck 4-S Draw protein throughout the past year and had many pictures of the buck going straight to the feed that was placed in the corner of a food plot, which was about 20 yards away from Rusty’s stand. The buck was bedding in a thick place in an area where there were a few sloughs. Arrowing the buck in that area could have meant he’d run off in a thick, wet spot and become unrecoverable. So Rusty planted his food plot in a different area and just let the weeds grow real tall so that the buck would feel comfortable coming out across the field to the corner where the food pile and his stand were. Needless to say, Rusty had a very long summer hoping to keep this buck a secret.
The Thursday before Rusty killed the buck, he got in his stand at 4:30 a.m. He walked to his stand with no flashlight. Previous trail-camera pictures showed the big buck at the food pile around 5:30 a.m., and he would stay until almost 7. Rusty figured he had plenty of time before the buck arrived in the area.
That morning, Rusty never saw the buck. When he got out of his stand, he checked his camera, and the buck was there at 4:30 a.m., just as Rusty was walking in.
Saturday afternoon, Sept. 29 was the perfect time for a hunt, Rusty figured, since a front had come through and the deer were up and moving after the rain.
“I was shaking in the stand before any deer even walked out,” he said.
Earlier that week Rusty had gotten pictures of the bruiser buck chasing does around, which is exactly the scene that played out under his stand on Sept. 29.
“The buck came out with a group of does and one other shooter buck,” said Rusty. “When he came out, the others gave him respect. Then the two bucks started grunting at each other and showing aggression toward each other. I knew then that I had to rush my shot or else they were going to square off, and the hunt would be over.”
Rusty did just that, and at 7:20 p.m., he took his shot. The buck ran about 60 to 70 yards through the overgrown food plot and expired. Finally, all Rusty’s hard work and strategic planning paid off. It’s a good example that proper deer management and strategic planning can end with big antlers.
“It just takes nutrition and birthdays. In my opinion, I thought he was a trophy last year, but it is just mind blowing what one year did to this deer as far as the extra points and mass that he put on,” said Rusty.
“It was definitely a hunt of a lifetime for me. My bow felt like it was 180 pounds when I was pulling it back. I thought I was going to have to use my foot to help me pull it back. I just want to give the credit to God for one, and to the landowner for letting me hunt on his property, and to my dad for starting me out so young. Also, I want to give credit to my wife who supports me and my obsession. Without her, I couldn’t have done any of it.”
Rusty is entered in Week 4 of the Truck-Buck contest and will have his rack scored at one of GON‘s scoring events. After that, he will have this buck of a lifetime hanging in Sylvania Sportsman.
Rusty said he thinks the deer will yield a net score between 150 and 155 inches, which would give him the top bow-kill for this east Georgia county. Currently, the No. 1 bow buck from Screven County was taken by Tom Hughes in 1985 and netted 143 inches.