I was filming a hunt for my Buck Stops Here TV show last November down in Georgia with the QDMA boys. One day at lunchtime the guy who had killed the highest scoring buck ever in the Peach State agreed to meet me on the side of a dirt road and tell me how he did it. Billy Joe Padgett roared up in his pickup; the monster mount riding shotgun was a jaw-dropper. “Let’s make this quick,” Billy Joe said, “I gotta get back on my deer stand.”
Telfair Co., November 1998, the day before Thanksgiving. Billy Joe’s dad was hunting his favorite stand on a lease and heard some grunting, but he couldn’t see the buck for a shot. The elder Padgett decided to go dove hunting the next day. Billy Joe, 23 then, told his dad he’d hunt that stand. Both Padgetts had seen a giant in the area, but never within shooting range.
A little after 7:00 on Thanksgiving morning, the enormous buck popped out of a creek bottom just 60 yards from Billy Joe’s stand. Somehow he kept it together, raised his gun and fired. “I jumped out of the stand, hollering I just shot a moose!” Billy Joe recalls.
Amazing rack. It’s a typical frame with kickers, stickers, double brow tines (38 pointsl) and unreal mass all over. Hellacious buck anywhere, and one you might expect from Iowa, Illinois or western Canada. That the freak lived 4 or 5 years on a heavily hunted lease in Georgia is fantastic and makes the story all the better.
Also, I love the simplicity of the story. No fancy tactics or gear or bravado. A kid went to a stand where he and his dad had glimpsed a big buck and killed him at 60 yards. Cool.
BTW, the original mount hangs in the Cedar Lane Supper Club in McRae, GA and has become a sort of hunting monument. A lot of people stop in to see the biggest buck ever shot in the state. Stop and check it out if you’re in the area. They cook a mean a steak too. Comment