Normally, an unexpectedly high utility bill — especially with Christmas right around the corner — is no cause for joy or celebration. 

But New Iberia’s Byron Pellerin turned an unusual $66 water bill at his deer camp near Haynesville into a Claiborne Parish buck of a lifetime on Friday, Dec. 16. 

“I was going to skip going up to the camp that weekend,” said Pellerin, 59, who owns a cabinet shop in Jeanerette. “But normally our water bill is 20 bucks, so I said, ‘Well, I must have a serious leak at the camp.’”

Pellerin made the four-hour drive up from New Iberia Thursday afternoon to investigate the possible leak, and then decided to head to one of his favorite stands on a hill overlooking the intersection of two deer trails bright and early Friday morning.

He didn’t see anything, until two nervous-looking does got his attention around 8 a.m.

“Two does came out — a momma doe and a yearling, and normally they come out and ease their way to the feeder. But they didn’t do that this time,” he said. “They turned and looked back, then went straight across the lane.

“When they did that, I said, ‘Something is behind them.’ I stuck my rifle out the window then. And not a minute later he came walking across from left to right at a steady walk.”

A big 10-point had appeared — and looked like it had no intention of slowing down as it followed the same path the does had taken.

“He never stopped and I never tried to spook him to stop him,” Pellerin said, noting that he sighted in the big buck at about 180 yards with his 7 Mag as the deer progressed across his lane. “I just aimed at him and shot him before he got back into the woods. He never even looked at me — he had one thing on his mind.”

Pellerin saw the big deer buckle at the shot, then sprint into the woods. 

About 15 minutes later, he headed down from his box stand to investigate and found bright red lung blood where the buck had stood, then located it 50 yards away piled up next to a small tree.

The 10-pointer — which had been captured on trail cam pics on another section of Pellerin’s 600-acre lease for several years — had a heavy-horned rack with a 20-inch inside spread, and stretched the tape to 154 inches.

The deer, estimated at about 5 years old, was a little worn down from the rut and tipped the scales at 175 pounds.

“This is the first time I ever see this deer in my area,” he said. “I see plenty of bucks crossing on my camera, but I never saw that deer.”

So Pellerin wound up downing his biggest buck ever on a day he wasn’t even planning on hunting — and got more good news back at his camp.

“Evidently we used that much water that month — 14,000 gallons,” he said. “Come to find out I didn’t even have a water leak.”

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