Louisiana Tech wildlife major Tyler Zachry has kicked himself ever since bow season earlier this year when, unnoticed, one of the big bucks on his hit list walked up behind him to within 5 yards of his stand.
“I turned to investigate the noise I had heard and there he was right there behind me,” said Zachry, 23, of Minden. “When I turned, he took off and all I could do was sit and watch him leave.”
Determined to make good on his next chance at the big buck, Zachry was encouraged when the deer started showing up on trail cameras during daylight hours.
“A buddy and I are the only two hunting our family-owned 1,000-acre pine plantation in Webster Parish, and we have used our trail cameras to try and identify as many of the mature bucks as we can on the property,” he said. “The one that had given me the slip during bow season was one I was definitely after.”
On Monday, Dec. 12, Zachry slept later than he wanted and hurried to get on his box stand located on a pipeline right-of-way with shooting lanes to the right and left. He arrived as it was beginning to get daylight, and started seeing deer almost immediately.
“I watched two does come out and begin feeding, and then two more does came out and ran the first two away,” he said. “Then I caught movement on the pipeline and looked up to see one of the big bucks I was after crossing the line.
“He was already halfway across when I spotted him at 75 yards.”
Although the buck came out from the opposite side of the pipeline where the does had entered, the deer was apparently on a mission because as Zachry hurriedly got his Browning X-Bolt .300 Win Mag out the window, the deer continued across the line.
He hurriedly tried to stop the buck before he got to the woods on the other side.
“I realized I needed to get the buck to stop so I hollered at him. He kept walking, so I hollered again. He never stopped nor looked my way so I knew it was now or never and I got his shoulder in my crosshairs and squeezed off a shot,” Zachry said. “The buck kicked his hind legs up and took off with his tail down, letting me know I’d hit him good.”
Not wanting to rush the buck, Zachry took his time before getting down to check on the deer. He called a couple of friends to report that he’d shot a big one.
“I decided to go back to the house, get my 4-wheeler and my black Lab trained to follow blood trails,” he said. “Actually the dog wasn’t needed because the deer only ran 25 yards before he expired.”
The big buck, weighing around 225 pounds, sported 12 points with an inside spread of 17 1/8 inches on a massive rack. The green score for the rack came out to an impressive 152 4/8 inches of bone.
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.