County famous for peanuts can now claim giant whitetail

Worth County is widely known as the "Peanut Capital." This year, it is getting new fame as the place that produced this 22-point non-typical whitetail killed by Fletcher Culpepper. The deer, which weighed almost 260 pounds, is likely to rank among the top five deer ever killed in Georgia.

Worth County is known to most folks as the “Peanut Capital of the World” and the place where Peter Pan peanut butter is made.


Last week, though, a young hunter named Fletcher Culpepper gave the southwest Georgia county a new level of fame as the breeding ground for legendary whitetails.

Culpepper’s buck was huge, weighing almost 260 pounds. But what really generated the attention was its 22-point non-typical rack that is likely bound for the record books.

The 27-year-old hunter took his giant buck over to Tifton, Ga., where state Wildlife Resources Division biologist Bill Cooper green-scored it at 224 and 5/8 Boone & Crockett points, said Melissa Cummings, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Natural Resources.

An official score cannot be calculated until after the required 60-day drying period, but it is still almost certain to be one of the top-five scoring deer ever taken in the state.

Experts say bucks of that quality require a rare combination of habitat, genetic qualities, age and nutrition.

Although the Worth County buck is significant, it is still shy of the state’s all-time highest scoring whitetail: the 38-point non-typical killed on Thanksgiving morning 1998 by Billy Joe Padgett in Telfair County.

The Padgett buck, which scored 248 and 4/8 points, was taken from a hunting club that adjoins the state-owned Horse Creek Wildlife Management Area open to public hunting.

Oddly enough, Padgett’s deer isn’t the only famous record to emerge from Telfair County.

On June 2, 1932, George W. Perry hoisted a 22-pound, 4-ounce world-record largemouth bass from a lake just three miles from where the deer was killed.

POACHER PROGRAM: Now that deer season is in full swing, the state’s poachers – especially criminals who shoot deer at night from public roads – will be just as busy.

Wildlife authorites need the eyes and ears of the sportsmen and women in the field to find and prosecute
those cases. If you see something, turn the in.

Georgia’s TIP (Turn In Poachers) program is a non-profit public service organization that works to protect wildlife by increasing the public’s support for conservation rangers.

The public can reach the TIP hotline by calling (800) 241-4113, *DNR on a cellphone, or by sending an e-mail to

Rewards can be paid to informants, who can also remain anonymous..


TURTLE SUCCESS: South Carolina officials reported Friday that a record number of sea turtle nests were laid this season along the state’s beaches and barrier islands.

The total – 4,604 nests – included 4,596 nests from loggerhead sea turtles, seven from green sea turtles and one leatherback next established on Kiaway Island.

The 2012 nesting season was of particular interest because the nest count trend has never had three consecutive years where nesting has shown an increase. Loggerhead nesting in 2012 not only topped the previous two years, but was also the highest year on record since 1982, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources said.

The numbers, though, remain shy of historical nest counts from the 1970s, indicating recovery efforts will need to continue.

South Carolina’s Marine Turtle Conservation Program has been participating for three years in a multi-state project along with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the North Carolina Wildlife and Resources Commission and the University of Georgia to answer several basic loggerhead sea turtle nesting questions.