Claiborne Parish is known for producing quality bucks, and the one that responded to Lance Middleton’s bleat and grunt calls late last week is no exception. 

“It was early when I settled into my ground blind on a private hunting lease and as it started to get daylight, I decided to give my calls a try,” Middleton said. “I hit my ‘can’ call first, making four bleats and then used my grunt call twice.

"Then I just sat back, got comfortable and relaxed, waiting until it got good daylight.”

As it turns out, he didn’t have to wait very long. 

Looking out of his window in the early morning light on Nov. 3, Middleton saw a deer appear about 90 yards down his shooting lane. 

“Even though it was early and just breaking daylight, I could see it was a buck, and looked like it had a good rack, so I decided to give it a try,” he said.

The big deer was standing in the lane with its tail outstretched, staring at the blind while Middleton was inside putting his crosshairs on the buck’s shoulder.

“He took a step and his head was behind a tree, but I could see his shoulder so I squeezed off a shot with the rifle I was using - my wife’s 7mm-08,” he said. “That rifle is shorter than my .300 Win Mag I usually hunt with, but the blind is small and her rifle is better-suited for such a cramped space.”

At the shot, the buck bolted and gave signs that Middleton had connected. However, when he walked down to where the deer was standing, he saw the ground disturbed where the buck took off but found no blood, hair or any evidence of a hit.

“I have a black Lab that is a good blood dog and he has found quite a few deer, so I decided rather than risk tromping around in the thicket looking for the deer, I’d head home and get my dog,” he said.

Once he returned with his dog to site, the Lab immediately found the trail and led Middleton to the deer, which had traveled only about 50 yards.

The buck was a dandy, with 12 scoreable points and a couple more just under an inch long. The inside spread was 16 inches, but the impressive statistics were main beams that stretched the tape to 24 inches each and eye-popping bases of 5 ½ inches each. Using the Boone and Crockett scale for measuring the rack, the buck green scored 155 6/8 inches.

“This is a deer none of us on our lease had ever seen,” Middleton said. “I’m not sure if he responded to my calls as it seems a little early in the season, but I’m just glad I was at the right place at the right time when he stepped out.”

Don't forget to enter photos of your bucks in the Nikon Big Buck Photo Contest to be eligible for monthly giveaways and the random drawing for Nikon optics at the end of the contest.

Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.