Once you’ve killed a buck like the one Garrett McCarty took earlier this month, it’s all downhill after that. The Rutledge teenager, son of Stephen McCarty and Tracie Elwer, was featured in The Georgia Outdoor News last week after taking down the brute in Morgan County. Speculation has it that this may be the fifth largest deer ever taken in the county. For a young man his age to bring home the trophy is even more impressive. Many seasoned veterans will hunt their entire lives and never even see one this big, much less take the shot that brings him down. According to GON and his father, Stephen McCarty, the 10-pointer was unofficially measured at 171 5/8 inches gross and weighed in at approximately 170 pounds.
We sat down with Garrett and his father for a Q and A session and found out some interesting details about that day and what makes this young man tick.
MCC: Have you thought about it yet, knowing maybe that you’ve already killed the biggest deer of your life?
GM: Now that I have probably killed the biggest deer of my life, I want to get a big buck with a bow, in Georgia, because bow hunting is a little more difficult, as getting the deer closer to you presents a greater challenge.
MCC: What’s it feel like going in the record books as possibly the fifth best ever taken in Georgia? (He quickly corrected our mistake)
GM: I wish my buck was in the top five for Georgia, but it’s only in the top five for Morgan County. Not disappointed at all with that feat, but fifth biggest in the state would be pretty sweet.
MCC: What would you tell other teenagers about deer hunting and your monster?
GM: I would tell all the other teenagers out there that killing a spike, or a small buck, has no purpose…at all. The meat is no better than any other deer, and really the only reason to kill a small buck is to show out and be able to say you killed a buck, or if that buck has an undesirable gene that you do not want in your managed herd. Another reason to kill a smaller buck is if it is hurting and you need to put an end to its suffering. My point is this. Let that 100 inch eight point walk, a bigger one will step out sooner or later, maybe even years later, but go for a trophy, not antlers.
MCC: How long have you been hunting?
GM: I have been hunting with my dad all my life, since I can remember, and even though it is probably the slowest and most boring sport, I love it and everything about it.
MCC: What part of hunting makes it so much fun for you?
GM: The part that makes it most fun is passing up the smaller bucks and letting them grow. I like seeing them get bigger and bigger over the course of a few years. Something I did not include in GON is that we actually found a trail cam picture of my buck from 2010 on the same food plot that I killed him on and look how far we’ve gotten. Another interesting thing is that I killed my first deer on that same food plot. I dropped her dead in her tracks.
MCC: How much did it weigh?
GM: We actually did not weigh the deer, but I would expect the deer to weigh anywhere from 160-170 pounds because he was probably hit by a vehicle or something and had a lot of muscle loss in his back-end.
MCC: You gotta be getting this one mounted. Who’s doing the taxidermy?
GM: Of course I’m getting this buck mounted (he laughed), but our friends down at Newborn’s Taxidermy in Newborn, GA are doing the mounting of my buck.
MCC: What other types of hunting and outdoor sports do you enjoy?
GM: I enjoy anything outdoors, I don’t have the best patience, so it’s not long, but I definitely have a burning passion for the outdoors. I love to bass fish and have done a little offshore fishing at a relative’s house in Suwanee, Florida. I have also caught a few catfish along the way. I enjoy duck hunting the most out of all of them. It’s one of the most expensive shooting sports, but standing in freezing water, strategically placing the decoys so they’ll land within shooting range, calling to the fowl and having them call back to you, and to watch their beauty as they cup their wings and fly in front of you is why I have a deep passion for hunting waterfowl. I also hunt turkey and dove, been rabbit hunting a few times, and leisure hunting for squirrels. I also like to camp and have bonfires, manage timber and just walk outside to really enjoy God’s creation.
MCC: What other hobbies or interests do you have besides the outdoor sports?
GM: Besides the outdoors, I played football my freshman and sophomore years, and that wasn’t my sport, but it definitely put knots on my arms. I also was on a forestry team for MCHS and showed goats in 4-H for Morgan County 4-H. I work with my dad in his grading company, NRC Grading & Hauling LLC, and I love it. My dad can be hard-headed and sometimes a bit aggravating, but I am his son and dish it out pretty evenly to him. I like watches and collecting them and shopping for them.
MCC: What’s up next for you now Garrett?
GM: I plan to start really managing the hunting lease and getting involved more in that than actually hunting. Because I love the outdoors and nature in its entirety, I would like to get the bucks bigger antlers by getting them more of the nutrients through feeders throughout the property as well as planting the proper seed in the food plots. I also wanna get the turkey population up and get more ducks flying into the river and two lakes on our lease. I have considered that buck to be the biggest I will ever kill, especially in Georgia, so I guess the answer is to go out west and go for around the same size whitetail deer, mule deer, elk, and all kinds of different animals.
Mr. McCarty was kind enough to join in on the fun along with Garrett.
MCC: Where do y’all hunt? Is it Morgan County leased property? Does the hunting club have a name?
SM: We hunt in an unnamed Morgan County hunting lease (I’d rather keep it at that). Answered like a good hunter who never tells his secrets.
MCC: What’s the biggest buck you’ve killed?
SM: My biggest buck is a 140 inch 10 pointer that came off of the same property.
MCC: How long have you been hunting?
SM: I started hunting when I was 10.
MCC: How long have you been taking your boys hunting?
SM: I’ve been taking both of my boys hunting their entire life. I really only took them deer hunting, but one time I took them duck hunting, and they both got “ too cold “ and walked out of the blind and to the truck. Several years later I took them again and they’ve loved it ever since.
MCC: What did you as a parent learn from this experience?
SM: From this experience, I learned that sometimes kids can handle big situations better than you think they will. As Garrett’s father, I felt not an ounce of jealousy and was so ecstatic for Garrett and experiencing this with him touched me a lot and will be a memory I will cherish with him for the rest of my life.
MCC: How proud are you of your two boys?
SM: I am very proud of both of my boys and things they have accomplished, big and small, and am very proud of the many compliments I am given on how respectful and mannerly my boys are.
Mr. McCarty ended the discussion with these words. “I went hunting with my youngest son a few days after Garrett got this one. Now that my oldest has bested his old man, my youngest thinks it’s his turn now,” he joked. Nothing like making memories with your children, that’s for sure. And this one will last forever…for both of them.
Garrett wanted everyone at the Citizen to know how thankful and appreciative he was for the opportunity to tell his story. Sounds like he’s got all the right stuff both in and out of his stand. Congratulations Garrett.