George Mason has had his eyes on an impressive Vernon Parish buck since June, and earlier this month brought the big deer down — without even reaching his stand.

“I do my hunting around home as the land behind my house belongs to my parents,” said Mason, 46, who lives near Rosepine. “It’s a 40-acre plot with mixed pine and hardwoods with some bottomland area, plus it is surrounded by 160 acres of similar habitat. Deer like to hang out behind my house; my daughter sometimes hears bucks grunting back there.

“I’ve managed to kill several good bucks on our place, and I started seeing this big buck back in June. He’d be crossing the pasture that is visible from my back door — I’ve probably seen him five times since June.”

On Oct. 10, Mason, who works for the USDA/NRCS based in nearby DeRidder, was off work for Columbus Day and made plans to head to his stand for a day of hunting.

“My alarm went off at 5 but instead of getting up immediately, I decided to stay in the bed awhile and the next thing I knew, it was almost 7,” he said.

Hurrying to grab his hunting clothes and his Thompson Encore .45-70, he stepped out the door and headed for his stand behind the house.

“I was hoping the buck would not have already made his move to the thickets to lay up for the day and when I walked out the back door, I looked up and there he was crossing the pasture almost 300 yards away,” Mason said. “I didn’t know whether to try and crawl closer or try and sneak, so I decided to ease along the fence line hoping the overhanging pine limbs would give me concealment. I got about 75 yards from my house, knelt down to look and the buck had stopped at the fence and was looking at me.

"I knew this was as far as I dared to sneak so I decided to take the shot.”

Centering his cross-hairs on the buck’s shoulder, Mason took an off-hand shot and the deer disappeared.

“I didn’t know if he had jumped the fence and was gone, so I walked back to the house, got my 4-wheeler and made my way to where the deer was standing when I shot,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it, but he was piled up right there with his antlers on the fence.”

The buck was indeed impressive. Weighing 168 pounds, the big deer carried 16 gnarly points with an inside spread of a whopping 22 inches. The buck was estimated to be only 3 ½ years old.

Mason hasn’t had the rack measured just yet, but you can bet the mass of antlers will be impressive when the mount is hanging on his wall.

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.