A Boone & Crockett whitetail falls at Realtree Farms
|Rack Report Details|
|Buck:||186 5/8 gross (14 scoreable points)|
|Time of Year:||September 22, 2021|
|Place:||Harris County, GA|
|Weapon:||Hoyt Ventum Bowhunting|
Bill Jordan purchased Realtree Farms 20 years ago. Since then, the Jordan family and its guests have taken many mature bucks, but none quite like the deer Tyler Jordan arrowed this season. It's a massive whitetail for any destination, and definitely a standout for the state of Georgia, where only 239 Boone & Crocket Georgia whitetails have been entered in the books (183 typicals and 56 non-typicals).
Tyler is no stranger to giant whitetails. He's killed a number of big ones throughout the Midwest and Southeast, including a 190-inch Louisiana deer at Honey Brake last season. But hunting a whitetail of that caliber on his home turf added a little extra pressure to the mix.
The story for this giant began in 2020. The buck lived on Realtree Farms during part of the summer and early season. After a while, it shifted to a neighboring property — hunted by friends of the Jordans — where it lived the remainder of the season. The hunters on that property decided to pass the buck in hopes that it'd grow even larger.
That proved to be a good move, especially for Tyler. The buck reappeared on trail cameras this past summer, and it'd grown into a huge 5 ½-year-old, bigger than anything they'd ever seen in the two decades of Realtree Farms' history.
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Naturally, Tyler was chomping at the bit to push in and hunt the deer, especially knowing it would likely depart to its typical fall range by the end of September. On opening day, he moved in and hunted a marginal wind, but it didn't work. The buck didn't show and to top it off, it disappeared from cameras for the next two days. Tyler and his cameraman Brian Brown believed they'd spooked him. But then on September 13, the giant hit one of Tyler's cameras at 6 a.m. Tyler wanted to move back in and try again but knew a marginal wind wouldn't pan out. So, he waited. The buck continued to frequent the area and kept coming into the corn pile they replenished for him. Still, Tyler needed a northwestern wind to make a move.
"This is once-in-a-lifetime, but here in Georgia, we may never see it again." — Tyler Jordan
We could not hunt it on an east wind, Tyler said. It was tempting to get in there and risk it. We tried it on a southeast wind, but it didn't work. So, they waited on perfect conditions.
On September 22, the winds shifted. Tyler stepped outside and felt a northwesterly wind blowing. Hairs raised on the back of his neck, and he realized this was his opportunity. The temperature was rapidly dropping, which he expected would spur deer to move even more.
Tyler and Brian gathered their gear, drove to the farm, and slowly walked along a low-impact entry route to the big deer's core area. With several days of rain in the past week, the ground was damp and quiet. Paired with a 15-mph wind, and it was easy to get into the stand undetected.
The double set was hung high in a tree along a ridge line full of hardwoods and thick cedars. The buck was bedding in the latter, which wasn't far from their stand location. I think that's why he felt like it was such a safe place to be, Tyler said. There was a lot of thick cover.
Some white oaks were dropping acorns, which only improved the area. These rained down around them as they sat in the stand. Tyler and Brian were ready for a face-to-face encounter with the monster buck.
The sit started out slow, but after a while, a spike walked into the open and fed through. A few minutes after, a mature 8-pointer walked in. A young 4-pointer passed through, too, and the bigger 8-pointer ran it off.
Minutes later, around 7:15 p.m., the big deer showed. He pushed the 8-pointer and all other deer out of the area, then disappeared. Three minutes later, the buck returned and walked right into the clearing. Tyler drew back, settled his sight pin, and took the broadside, 25-yard opportunity. His arrow struck true, and the buck bolted into cover. I knew when I saw gushing that he was going to die pretty quickly, Tyler said.
He immediately called Bill Jordan, who watched the shot live on the Spartan trail camera. They talked about the buck, and of course, its size. They brainstormed on the recovery, and then Tyler descended the tree.
They met up with some friends, and then took up the blood trail. It didn't take long before they spotted stacks of long tines shining through the Georgia hardwoods, just 70 yards away. Tyler and the entire tracking party hurried forward to see the buck and couldn't believe their eyes. It was even bigger than they expected.
I think, for us, we never thought we'd have an opportunity at a buck like this, Tyler said.
We've shot some deer in the 160s, but nothing over 170. He ended up being bigger than we thought. This is once-in-a-lifetime, but here in Georgia, we may never see it again. I'm excited for myself, Dad, and the entire group.
Despite growing 186 5/8 inches of antler, the 14-point Georgia giant isn't Tyler's biggest buck ever. His Louisiana deer from last season still reigns supreme. But this buck is his largest archery kill, and certainly the biggest from Realtree Farms.
Hear the full story of this buck on the Realtree Outpost Podcast:
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