EATONTON, Ga. --- The Georgia Outdoor Writers Association bestowed its annual awards last weekend to the lucky hunters who took the top-scoring deer in Georgia last season.
Although Peach State hunters bring home more than 400,000 deer each year, only a handful qualify for the record books. Last season's entries included 74 outstanding whitetails, of which three qualified for the Boone & Crockett all-time record book. Thirty-six entries killed by bow qualified for Pope & Young status.
Susie Tate, of Thomaston, Ga., was the winner in the non-typical firearms category. Her buck, taken Dec. 2 on the family's Upson County farm, scored 198 and three-eighths B&C points.
In the firearms category for typical bucks, Danny Cook Nicholson's Oglethorpe County buck, taken on Nov. 1, was scored at 170 and seven-eighths B&C points.
David Sams, of Macon County, was honored for his Oct. 25 bowkill, which scored 162 and six-eighths P&Y points.
In the category for non-typical bowkills, Greg Chestnut's Fulton County buck, killed Sept. 28, yielded a score of 167 and two-eighths P&Y points.
The 2009-2010 Georgia Big Deer Contest, in its 42nd year, is sponsored by Georgia's Wildlife Resources Division, Georgia Sportsman magazine and the Georgia Outdoor Writers Association.
To qualify, firearms kills must score at least 145 Boone & Crockett points on typical racks or 170 on non-typicals; and archery kills must score at least 120 Pope & Young points for typical racks and 155 for non-typicals.
The top-scoring bucks had two things in common.
None was killed anywhere near Augusta, and all were taken on private, managed lands where it is mandatory to let smaller bucks walk.