Alabama Bowhunter Bags Extremely Rare Red Stag: “Looked Like A Darn Moose”

red stag
Coye Potts

What are the odds of this?

An Alabama teen bagged a red stag. No I’m not talking about the whiskey, I’m talking about the deer species that’s only indigenous to Europe, and parts of Iran and Asia, and northern Africa.

In Alabama, typically the only deer you see roaming the woods are your basic whitetails, but over a year ago, Phillip Taylor began to notice a massive deer roaming the Georgia border on his property in Rock Mills, Alabama, that he said:

“Looked like a darn moose.”

He began to notice the massive deer a lot more in the past few months, and since he doesn’t hunt, he asked his 16-year-old grandson Coye Potts to check it out, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Two weeks later, Potts made is way onto his grandpa’s property to see if he could get a shot on the incredibly rare deer, camping out in the homemade blind of burlap and sticks he built on the property, hoping he could meet the deer at the crack of dawn.

The first thing that came to Potts’ mind when he first saw the deer was:

“Golly, that thing is huge. It don’t look like no whitetail.”

The Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources say that red deer in Alabama are escaped captives or descendants of captives.

Marianne Gauldin, a conservation education specialist in the department told the outlet:

“Red deer sightings in Alabama are rare, but they are at times harvested by Alabama hunters, typically one or two instances per season.”

Potts first attempted to bag the red stag with a crossbow before gun season, and his first shot missed.

A week later, he came back out before school on two straight days, and didn’t have a clear shot either day, but Taylor encouraged his grandson to stay patient.

On his third day hunting that week on November 3rd, he took his buddy, 17-year-old Hudson Vowell, along with him, where he used a rangefinder to spot for Potts.

Vowell weighed in on the incredible rare scene:

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I don’t think I’ll ever see another deer that big or a red stag in general that someone didn’t pay for, walking around in Alabama freely.”

Potts said:

“He never saw us. I was really nervous and excited at the same time, just ready to kill him and hoping and praying that I didn’t miss again.”

With the feed bag still stuck to its antlers, Pott’s arrow was on target, piercing the lung and heart from the 30 yards… the deer jumped.

Potts continued:

“He might have went 5 yards, but he dropped right there.”

East Alabama Deer Processing owner Justin Benefield drove to his shop early to help Potts get the stag in the cooler, and he told the outlet that he and his buddies had just been talking about the mysterious deer the night before, and that the deer had been known in the area for seven to eight months.

Benefield shared:

“Man, this is the luckiest kid alive. In the state of Alabama, you just don’t get that opportunity, a hit-the-lottery type of thing. There’s no telling on a paid hunt how much it would cost.”

Potts is most excited about the meat and the shoulder mount that he plans to hang in his family’s home:

“Every time you walk by it, it will just bring back memories. You just feel an accomplishment.”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock