Deer for the Record Books Shot in Sylvester

By Allison Floyd

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Wildlife biologist Bill Cooper spent two hours measuring the gigantic antlers of a 22-point deer a hunter killed in Worth County Monday morning.

Cooper – who also scored Georgia’s record-holding whitetail in Telfair County in 1998 – was surprised by the deer’s size, but not necessarily by where he was found.

“This deer probably is going to end up ranking third of all time,” said Cooper, a longtime Department of Natural Resources biologist who still scores deer in retirement. “You’re talking 50 years of hunting. That’s a big deer.”

The buck was about 4 and a half years old, nearly 260 pounds, with 22 points and a green score of 233 and 2/8 inches.

Fletcher Culpepper of Worth County shot the trophy, and told Albany’s WALB that he changed deer stands after sitting in one most of the morning. As he climbed into the stand used by his father, Danny, the 27-year-old saw a buck, but didn’t know until he killed it how big the deer was.

While some speculated that the rack will be the fourth or fifth biggest in state history, Cooper expects it will come in third when the measurement is validated in 60 days.

The buck’s age isn’t all that unusual, Cooper said.

And while the size is big for South Georgia, he’d expect a record-breaking buck to come from Worth County.

Forty years ago, Worth County was one of the main areas where whitetail deer were re-stocked, often with deer from Wisconsin and other northern states that have the same species, but slightly larger animals. That size difference still shows up generations later, he said.

“They were just bigger and ever since then it’s not unusual to get some big deer from that area,” he said.

Plus, the deer find water from the Flint River and food from agriculture (as anyone who has tried to keep whitetail out of a garden knows.)

This buck was a ways from any cultivated fields, but a mile is no distance to a deer, Cooper said.

Fletcher took the body to the processor and head to a taxidermist to prepare a trophy.

 "If I can find a wall somewhere in (the house) to put it,” Fletcher told WALB. “I've got two or three deer but I don't know if I can hang them in the same room as this one."