On Dec. 8, 1985, David Coppenger, 22 at the time, killed a main-frame 12-pointer from the Oconee National Forest in Jasper County that also had 15 kicker points and grossed 192 7/8 inches.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I used to hunt. I would hunt rabbits and squirrels when I was in elementary school,” said David, who lives in Cumming.
Back in 1985, the Oconee National Forest only occasionally had days for either-sex deer hunting. It was this very reason why David and a friend decided to hunting on that particular day.
“Once doe day opened, it sounded like a war out there that morning,” said David.
The first deer David saw from his stand in a clearcut was a doe, but it was hobbling as it came through.
“I only had four rounds and shot three at the doe,” said David.
When he went to recover the deer, he noticed it was missing one of its legs.
After shooting the doe, David drug it back to camp and also went to get some more ammo. Unfortunately, he could not find any more bullets. After taking care of the doe, he headed back to where his portable deer stand was located.
As he headed deeper into the woods toward the clearcut, he saw a doe and buck up the same creek-bottom trail he was walking on. David did not realize just how big this buck was that was coming down the trail.
David quickly decided to hide behind an oak tree as the deer headed his way.
“I could hear him, I just couldn’t see him,” said David.
“I shot him with the only round I had left. I shot him in the chest, and he landed 3 feet in front of me,” said David.
When David shot the deer, it lost its footing and and slid across the ground and got its antlers stuck under a root.
“He was trying to get up, but he was stuck,” said David.
Without another bullet, David said the deer died stuck under that root.
After David killed the deer, everybody who saw it that day thought the buck had come from nearby B.F. Grant, since it’s a quality-managed WMA.
“He had cedar trees that were as big as your thigh that he had been rubbing and big scrapes he made on the ground that were as big as a car hood,” said David.
David was happy with his kill and said he used his last bullet at just the right time.
“I had my chance, and I made it count,” said David.
After being scored by certified measurer Bob Monroe on April 21, 1986, the rack had a net score of 188 non-typical inches even, which included 25 inches of abnormal points.
David never thought about entering the buck in GON‘s County-by-County rankings until he was looking online at www.gon.com recently and figured he needed to submit his score sheet. GON magazine began publishing in 1987, and after years of research, GON published the first official County-by-County rankings for Georgia in the late 1990s.
David’s buck is now No. 7 all-time for Jasper County.
Editor’s Note: GON inputed the official measurements from David’s score sheet into a spread sheet that tallies the B&C score and found a math error on the original score sheet. We originally reported a gross score of 193 7/8 and a net of 189 even as indicted on the score sheet. The correct tally is 192 7/8 gross and 188 even.