Devonne Poland has been a hunter for as long as he can remember, and his grandfather - Larry Joe Poland - helped to get him involved in the outdoors.
Eleven years ago, when he was just 5 years old, Devonne shot his very first buck with coaching from his grandpa— a feat impressive enough back then to make the local paper.
A yellowing picture of the two remains a prized possession in the Poland household.
Devonne and his grandfather, who reside in the small community of Swampers near Crowville in Franklin Parish, are members of a hunting lease in Caldwell Parish.
Saturday, Nov. 12, the pair was hunting their lease together, and this time the youngster, now 17, drove his grandfather to his stand and dropped him off while continuing on another half mile to his own box stand.
“I climbed into my stand and soon after daylight, I got a text from my mom, asking me if I’d seen anything yet. I had seen a small 4-point buck and six does out in front of my stand. I was just about to text my mom about what I’d seen when something told me to check behind me,” Devonne said. “I turned and looked to see a big-bodied deer step out on the lane 200 yards away. I said to myself, ‘Oh crap — that’s a big deer.’
“Even from that distance, I could see it was a buck with a really big rack. I quickly laid my phone down and picked up my rifle. I shoot at .280 Ruger.”
The hunting club where Devonne and his grandfather are members has a rule that a buck must have at least six points to be a shooter.
“It didn’t take me long to realize the one I was looking at would far exceed six points,” he said. “I could tell he had a bunch of them.”
The buck began walking toward the stand when it turned its head as if preparing to leave the shooting lane.
“When the buck turned its head, I got the scope on his neck and pulled the trigger,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it when the deer hit the ground right there.
“As soon as he dropped, I got down from the stand and headed toward the deer, and while I hurried down along, I called my grandpa. He was as excited as I was. When I got to the deer there on the ground, I just sort of lost it; I got emotional and almost started crying. Then I went and picked up my grandpa and it took both of us to get the deer loaded up on our side-by-side.”
The pair took the buck to Columbia to Spotted Dog Sporting Goods to have it weighed, scored and entered in the store’s big buck contest.
The huge buck tipped the scales at 225 pounds, with 13 points, an inside spread of 19 inches and was scored at 168 inches. Currently, Devonne’s buck stands atop the contest standings in the youth division.
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.