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Marion County produces Buck of the Year!

Jeff Sullivan from Fort McCoy, Florida killed the 2014-15 Florida “Buck of the Year” on Dec. 14, 2014 in his own backyard in Marion County.

The awesome buck had a heavily-palmated 12-point rack that was scored three different times – twice by Boone and Crockett scorers – who measured it at 189 inches gross (before deductions) and 166-3/8 inches net as a typical.

Jeff killed the buck on his 21-acre homestead after spotting it out of a window while drinking a cup of coffee.

“After getting a cup of coffee, I looked out my back window and saw this buck and another nice buck,” Jeff said. “I kept looking at him and finally got my binoculars.”

“That is when I said, ‘Damn! That is a nice buck!’ It still didn’t register how big he really was. I kept looking at him until I decided I had to try to get a shot.

“I was still in my shorts that I wear around the house, so I put on a pair of pants and a light jacket and slipped around the side of the house,” Jeff said.

“He was looking right at me, so I went around to the other side of the house and got next to a bush. When he dropped his head to feed I slipped up behind an oak tree that was between me and him.

“He kept looking back at me. About the fourth time he dropped his head, I just slipped my rifle up and dropped him with my Ruger .270 short mag. It is a fine-shooting rifle,” Jeff added. “I stood there a while to make sure he was staying down.”

Sullivan’s big buck now ranks as the highest-scoring buck ever killed in Marion County and #3 among Florida’s all-time highest-scoring typical bucks, behind only Larry Furr’s 168-1/8-inch Gadsden County 14-point taken in 1977 and Roy Ems 165-2/8-inch Leon County 11-point taken in 1983.

Sullivan’s buck beats out the 154-3/8-inch buck taken by Jerry Wagner in Marion County in 1940.

In the 15 years he has owned the property, Jeff said the best buck he had ever taken was a 17-inch wide 6-point and a smaller 7-point.

“Holy smokes! What a buck!” Jeff said afterward. “I realize this is a once-in-a-lifetime deer. I’ve never seen anything like him before.”