When you think of a place in Louisiana known for producing lots of redfish, speckled trout and flounder — that’s also a magnet for ducks and geese — Calcasieu Parish would probably definitely be on your list.
But big bucks with really big racks? Nope.
It’s doubtful you’d even give Calcasieu a second thought.
Just don’t tell that to Vinton firefighter Benji Stanley.
On Monday afternoon, the 41-year-old put the crosshairs of his .30-06 on the boiler room of a magnificent 10-point buck —one that stretched the tape to nearly 2 feet of air between the antlers.
“My dad and I are in a 2,300-acre hunting club north of Vinton, and we’ve hunted there for the past 23 years. We’ve downed a good many deer there on the club and enjoy getting out there during hunting season,” Stanley said. “Last year, I had a chance at this buck when he stepped out with a doe. However, he turned to follow the doe just at the moment I touched the trigger and I grazed his brisket, just enough to draw a little blood.
“I knew he wasn’t hurt because I saw him one more time last season when he crossed a shooting lane, but didn’t get a chance at him.”
On Monday afternoon, Stanley headed to his favorite box stand on the club, taking his 4-year old son Grant with him.
“All three of my children love to go with me deer hunting, so Grant was ready to tag along with me,” he said.
At around 4:15, they watched some does come out to a feeder that suddenly ran away.
“I looked about 200 yards down the lane and at first thought I was looking at a cow that had gotten on the club. Then I saw the rack and realized I was looking at the buck I shot at last season,” he said. “The buck slipped back into the thicket, but five minutes later he came back out, crossed the lane and ran some does off the lane.
“I got down on my knees and said a prayer for one more opportunity at this buck. Around 6:05, a doe came onto the lane and there 65 yards away stood the big buck.”
Telling his son to be quiet as he slipped ear muffs on him, Stanley watched as the buck turned broadside and then squeezed off a shot. The buck jumped — and dropped where it stood.
“I saw that the buck was down, so Grant and I got down from the stand and my little boy went running as fast as he could to the deer, taking a tumble, getting up and dusting himself off,” Stanley said. “I’ll never forget what Grant said when he ran up to the deer.
“He grabbed it by the antlers, looked at me grinning and said, ‘We smoked him, daddy!’”
The wide-racked 10-point measured 23 ½ inches between the antlers, and although the tines weren’t especially long, the buck green-scored 146 6/8 inches of antler. The deer tipped the scales at 165 pounds, and was estimated to be 4 ½ to 5 ½ years old.
“Some of our members that had been hunting the deer said it’s maybe the widest one ever shot in Calcasieu Parish,” Stanley said. “I don’t know if that’s true, but me being there with my little boy and seeing his reaction — it’s the most special deer I ever got.”
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.