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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

09

Fletcher Culpepper

By Mike Handley

When Danny Culpepper sent his son, Fletcher, a text message on Oct. 22, asking if he could carry some material in to camouflage his ladder stand, he had no idea Fletcher was sitting in and had just shot a deer from it. He knew only that his 27-year-old son was hunting the 55 acres, which is why he thought to ask before driving back there.

To learn that Fletcher was actually hunting from his stand was a bit shocking. Kiddo had ribbed him about the poor placement, saying it was too obvious and that he'd stick out like a sore thumb if he sat in it, which is why Danny was bringing the camo.

"It's funny," Fletcher said. "I'd told Dad: 'You're NOT going to get a shot at a deer from that stand.' I'd been nagging him about it being too much in the wide open."

Fletcher was thrilled over his father's arrival, even if it meant he'd have to eat a little crow. The timing couldn't have been better, too, because he didn't want to get down from the stand and lose sight of the downed deer; he wanted to be able to shoot again, if it regained its feet.

So he told Danny to come on in, and he directed him to the still-dead whitetail.

"Why'd you shoot such a small buck?" his father yelled. "It's half as big as the one on your brother's camera."

Fletcher was sure the deer was no slouch, but he couldn't help second-guessing his estimate until Danny started chuckling.

"No, son, I think you've shot a new state record," he amended.

Turns out, it's a close runner-up.

Fletcher made the most of his time off from work -- courtesy of a busted collarbone -- during the first week of the Peach State's rifle season by playing musical stands on the 55 acres he, his brother and father hunt. He wound up shooting a 260-pound, 4 1/2-year-old buck that some wanted to nickname Deerzilla, since it was taken a couple of counties west of where the infamous Hogzilla was shot in 2004.

As the late Paul Harvey might've phrased it: Stay tuned for the rest of the story, which is slated to appear in RACK magazine next August.

Hunter Unknown Ben Thomas Astin Skinner BTR

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