Hattiesburg hunter kills huge Adams County buck

Big 19-point buck grosses 190 inches, could be Boone & Crockett Club typical after deductions

Griffin Gatwood said he’d never laid eyes on the buck until Oct. 4, despite having trail cameras out on a piece of Adams County hunting land for quite a while.

At first glance, he thought he was certainly a nice one, maybe 140 or 150 inches. But he was hunting other big bucks on other pieces of property, so he didn’t just jump up and start looking for the new arrival right away.

But when he kept showing up every afternoon between 4:30 and 5, well, that got the attention of Gatwood, a 21-year-old Mississippi State engineering student from Hattiesburg. So on Oct. 28, when the wind direction seemed right for the place where the trail camera was set up, he decided it was time.

About 3 hours later, he was standing over a 185-pound, 190-inch buck.

“There was definitely no ground shrinking, no sir,” Gatwood said.

The right spot

Gatwood took the huge 19-point buck with a Barnett crossbow and a bolt tipped with a Swhacker mechanical broadhead at 34 yards at around 4:30 the last Saturday afternoon in October. He was in a portable, pop-up blind, because he hadn’t had time to hang a stand anywhere near the logging road the buck had been walking up every afternoon.

“We had been watching him for a couple of weeks, and I knew he was big, but nowhere near as big as he really was,” Gatwood said. “I went to my camp that afternoon and got my buddy out and got a ground blind, because I didn’t have a bow stand set up.

“I got to the spot and started walking around – for 30 minutes – trying to figure out a spot to put it. I set it up in some bushes right off the logging road, about 30 yards from the trail camera. I got in at 3:30, got it set up at 4 o’clock, and a big doe came up the logging road at 4:15. She saw me before I saw her, and she barreled out of there. I was thinking to myself, ‘If she saw me, there’s no way I’ll see him before he sees me.’ Then, about 10 minutes later, coming up the road, I see these big horns. I thought, ‘Good Lord, it’s him.’”

Griffin Gatwood of Hattiesburg downed this 190-inch buck in Adams County on Oct. 28.

Getting over the shakes

Gatwood got his crossbow up and watched the buck for two or three minutes as it approached.

“I was shaking; the whole blind was shaking,” he admitted. “I have no idea how I killed him.”

But the buck walked up to about 35 yards and came a step closer, then turned broadside, and Gatwood let his arrow fly.

“He kept looking and looking at me,” Gatwood said. “I watched him for maybe 5 minutes. I was waiting for him to bust me like the doe did. He was quartering away when I shot, and I thought I missed. All I saw was all this dust rising. We haven’t had any rain in weeks, and I thought the arrow had made the dust fly up.”

But Gatwood went to the spot the deer had been standing and found blood, a good bit of blood. He called his father, who told him to get out of the area, and he obeyed. His father came back with Corey Miller of Vidalia, La., who keeps dogs that blood-trail wounded deer.

“We went in 3 hours later, and the dogs went right to him. They found him right away,” Gatwood said. “He had gone 52 yards.”

The Shwacker broadhead had taken the buck at an angle, through both lungs, and come out behind the off shoulder. They later found it stuck in a tree trunk when they backtracked, finding what turned out to be a pretty good blood trail they could have followed without the dogs’ help – which Gatwood greatly appreciated.

“I figured he was 150 or 160 inches when we got to him,” Gatwood said. “Then, we measured him and got 180. But we took him to Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop (La.), and they got him at 190, gross.”

An impressive rack

The buck has a 19 6/8-inch inside spread, main beams measuring 26 and 26 6/8 inches, and 19 total points. The end of its left beam still has some dried velvet, weeks after the buck had shed the rest of its velvet. It has a base 6×6 frame – the smallest points on each beam are barely scorable at slightly longer than an inch – and it has three tines longer than 10 inches and one at 9 6/8, plus 6 2/8- and 6 ⅜-inch brow tines. Both brow tines are split, and it has sticker points coming off the bases that point behind the buck, as well as two sticker points on the longest tine on the right beam and one sticker point on the longest tine on the left beam.

Even with deductions, the buck looks like it could score in the mid-170s, net, and make the Boone & Crockett Club’s all-time record book as a typical.

“I thought he was big, but I didn’t know he’d be that big,” Gatwood said. “I was hunting some other deer on different pieces of property, and I decided that evening, the wind and everything was right. It was the first time I’d hunted that deer. We don’t know where he came from because we hadn’t seen him before that first trail-cam photo three weeks ago.”

About Dan Kibler 121 Articles
Dan Kibler is managing editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has been writing about the outdoors since 1985.

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