Bailey Combs, of Smryna, took down a Cherokee County Pope & Young bruiser opening morning that should gross around 160.
Bailey started hunting suburban areas during his time as a pitcher for Georgia Tech’s baseball team.
“During my college days, I didn’t have time to drive three hours to hunt someone’s farm, so I started contacting local landowners,” said Bailey.
Bailey started heavily feeding Advanced 4S Wildlife Solutions products for the past three years. That’s also when he first saw the monster buck on camera. Given Bailey’s baseball background, it comes as no surprise the buck was dubbed the nickname “Full Count,” due to three large tines on one side and a split G2 on the opposite side.
“In 2018, I had him on camera for the first time, and last year he was probably in the mid 130s, so he made a huge jump this year,” said Bailey.
Bailey consistently watched Full Count over the years, even passing up a shot at him last year.
Fast forward to April 2021 and Full Count was back on Bailey’s camera in full velvet.
“I watched him all summer again, then about a month before season, he disappeared for about three weeks,” said Bailey. “Then about four days before season, he appeared again.”
However, he was only showing up at first light and only making a brief appearance before he was gone again. Bailey knew he was going to have to be in the stand extremely early to have a chance at him.
Opening morning, he set his alarm for 3:45 a.m. and made the 25-minute drive to his Millennium lock-on stand and then sat for about two hours in total darkness.
At daybreak, a doe, some fawns and a 10-pointer emerged. There was no sign of Full Count.
“I was disappointed,” said Bailey. “It was getting later, and I knew he had only been there in first light and that was it.”
As it was closing in on 8:15 a.m., he was considering getting down when the deer in front of him started “acting weird.”
“I saw movement and antlers, and there he was,” said Bailey. “He was moving slow. The sun was just beating down on his coat.”
As the buck neared, Bailey pulled back the string on his Matthews VXR 28 and let an arrow fly for the perfect, 20-yard shot. The 13-point only made it 30 yards before piling up.
“I called my dad first, then my friend Brian Whitney,” said Bailey. “After all the time and effort put in, it is an overwhelming feeling, it makes you appreciate it a lot more.”
Full Count has about 160 inches of antler. As a main-frame 8-pointer, the buck has five abnormal points. If scored as a non-typical, it nets only about 155 inches. Any lower on the net and the buck wouldn’t even qualify for P&Y as a non-typical.
However, even with deductions, the buck should net in the mid 130s as a typical and will likely be scored that way and entered into GON‘s Georgia Deer Records program.
Story originally written & posted by Georgia Outdoor News on September 6, 2021