In the book of Genesis, Jacob wrestled with an angel of the Lord all night and came away with a permanent limp.
Last December, Haughton’s Harmon Carson nicked a big buck’s back leg with an arrow and decided to give the deer the biblical name of Jacob.
Last Tuesday, Jacob’s luck ran out on private land in Bossier Parish when Carson sent a Black Eagle Deep Impact arrow tipped with a Simmons Tiger Shark broadhead into the big buck’s vitals.
“I have known about this buck since May of last year. Back then, he was a mainframe 10-point with split G-2s on the right side,” he said. “ I followed him with my cameras and actually sneaked in during off season, spotting him a couple of times.
“Last year, I was on my stand when the buck stepped out and I sent an arrow his way. However, I didn’t see the small branch between me and the buck and when the arrow glanced off the branch, the arrow clipped the buck’s hind leg. Finding blood, we looked for the deer for three days and incredibly, he showed up on the same scrape line three days after I shot him — so I knew I’d only nicked him.”
One reason Carson didn’t solidly connect with the buck the first time is because of the bow he regularly uses.
“I shoot a ‘trad’, or traditional bow — a Hoyt Buffalo recurve — without the bells and whistles found on a compound bow,” Carson said. “I have hunted a compound bow in the past but switched to the recurve because it’s so much more challenging. It’s just you, the deer, and stick and string. You have to program your muscles differently with a ‘trad’ bow and you operate so much by instinct.”
With no other chances at the buck last season, Carson set his sights this fall on finishing off the job on Jacob.
“I had gotten lots of photos of the buck, even one after he’d dropped his antlers, and was able to see the scabs on his head as well as one on his back leg,” he said.
Carson decided to hang his stand this year at the edge of a thicket where trail cameras showed the big buck was hanging out. Next to the thicket was an oak that was already dropping acorns because of the wet spring and summer.
“Opening morning, I slipped in after pulling the card from my camera and was shocked to see the deer had shown up at 9:45 the day before. After losing his velvet on Sept. 4, I didn’t see him for four weeks and there he was eating acorns in broad daylight,” he said. “I was pumped.”
Carson plays guitar at his church and mentioned to his wife that after services were over, he was headed to the woods. He got on his stand, but the buck didn’t show that afternoon.
“The next day, Monday, Red River Revel was in town and my wife wanted me to go with her so I decided maybe I should, but the whole time I was walking around the event, my mind was on the buck that was probably walking around my stand,” he recalled. “When I got to my stand Tuesday, sure enough — he was eating acorns around my stand in broad daylight.”
On Tuesday after work, Carson hurried to his stand and half an hour later, a little 5-point buck stepped out — a deer Carson recognized as one hanging out with Jacob.
“I film my hunts and as the 5-point got within 20 yards of my stand, I’m filming and notice I only have four minutes of memory left,” he said. “I eased my hand over and began deleting prior footage because if Jacob stepped out, I’d have no memory left.”
As he deleted footage, he heard a deep grunt back in the thicket and the big deer stepped out.
“The buck stepped behind a big tree and I drew my bow and started shaking a bit because he just stood there. There is no let-off on a recurve so I had to ease off, but when the buck finally stepped into an opening, I had to shoot quickly,” he said. “When I released the arrow, the buck took off. My camera showed I’d hit him farther back than I wanted.”
Waiting 30 minutes, Carson climbed down, found blood and then called his brother and found where the deer had laid down. Deciding it was best to give the deer time to expire, he returned the next day with a friend who had a blood-trailing dog. They found the deer still alive, but a second well-placed arrow marked the end of the road for Jacob.
The buck, a massive 9-point with the same split G-2 as last year, tipped the scales at 195 pounds and carried an inside spread of 17 ½ inches. The G-3s were a whopping 13 inches each, main beams were 25 inches and bases were 5 ¼ inches. The buck, estimated at 5 ½ years old, green-scored an impressive 173 7/8 inches.
“I feel bad really after staying with a deer so long and not making a clean kill,” Carson said. “You sort of build a relationship with an animal like this, and there is a sense of respect you develop with a deer like Jacob.”
Don't forget to enter photos of your bucks in the Nikon Big Buck Photo Contest to be eligible for monthly giveaways and the rand drawing for Nikon optics at the end of the contest.
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.