Last year’s flooding on the Mississippi River cut Lane Cox’s deer season short, so the Ruston hunter was just happy to be in his stand on the 7,000-acre Winter Quarters Hunting Club in Tensas Parish on Saturday morning, Dec. 10.

Cox didn't see much early — but heard something that required his attention.

“I heard a feeder go off about 250 yards away through the woods, and a camp rule is we’re not supposed to have feeders going during that particular part of the season,” Cox said. “Things had started out slow, so around 8 I decided to get off my stand and walk over to see about the feeder.”

Cox said he had walked to within 50 yards of the feeder when something caught his eye. 

“I looked to my right toward a slough and saw a big buck 125 yards away from me, and the deer was looking at me, so I froze,” he said.

Cox recognized the buck as one he had been seeing on his trail cameras since September. The big deer had unusually tall antlers, and was one he had targeted to take if he ever had the opportunity. 

“The buck was facing me and I didn’t want to take a chance at trying for him at that angle,” he said. “The deer started walking and I realized he was headed right for the stand I had just vacated.”

As he watched the deer walk toward his stand, Cox tried to get in position for a shot as each step took the buck further away from him.

“Since I didn’t want to try a freehand shot, when the buck walked behind some brush, I slipped up to a big tree and the deer never stopped walking. However, I couldn’t get the shot I wanted there so I eased on over to another tree and by that time, the buck had actually walked past my stand,” he said. “He finally stopped in an opening where I could see him from his chest up. I got him in the crosshairs – I shoot a Remington .300 Ultra-Mag – and when I shot, he dropped.”

When the 22-year-old hunter walked up to the buck, the deer was struggling to get up so another shot was required to finish the job.

The buck sported 9 points on a heavy rack with 16 ⅞ inches of space between the antlers, and main beams of 23 and 24 inches. The big deer green scored 144 inches of bone.

“What was ironic about this whole deal is that if I’d stayed in my stand,” Cox continued, “I would have had a 40-yard shot, which would have been a chip shot had I been using my bow.”

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.