Earlier this deer season, we had the privilege of reporting on the success of Shane Rachal, who thought he was shooting at a big 11-point buck he had on camera — only to find out the buck he actually downed that foggy October morning was an even larger 13-point.
But on Nov. 15, Rachal’s brother-in-law, Chuck Monroe, was finally able to put his crosshairs on that reclusive 11-point buck.
“My brother-in-law, father-in-law and our family all hunt on a 250-acre lease in Vernon Parish near Simpson,” Monroe said. “Shane and I do construction work together and we knew we’d only have one more day to hunt before heading out to work. I was hunting with Shane and my father-in-law that morning when the 11-point buck showed up.”
Although the trio had this buck on camera for three years, none of them had ever seen the deer nor had its image on camera during daylight hours.
“When I walked in to my stand, I applied a cover scent, Ever-Calm, to my boots and as I walked, I sprayed Tink’s 69 estrous scent along the trail. Climbing into my stand, I was texting back and forth with Shane and my father-in-law when I heard a noise, looked back on the trail I’d walked in and there was a big buck standing 40 yards away with his nose to the ground,” he said. “I recognized him immediately as the big 11-point we’d been after.”
Monroe had to reposition himself and turn around in his stand since the deer was behind him and as he did, the buck reversed directions, continuing to sniff the ground as it walked away from him.
“I didn’t have a shot I felt comfortable with as the buck was walking straight away. However, he cut across into the woods and I saw one small opening that might allow me a shot. Luckily, the buck stopped broad side in the opening and I squeezed off a round with my Ruger .308,” Monroe said. “I saw him hunker down and take off, so I felt I had made a good shot.”
Climbing down, Monroe walked to where he thought the deer was standing when he shot but could find no blood, hair or evidence of a hit. So he texted his brother-in-law to come help him search for the deer.
“While waiting on Shane, I decided to climb back into my stand and try and retrace what happened when I realized I had been looking past where the deer was standing. By that time, Shane had arrived and we walked to the spot where the deer was when I shot and found hair and a little blood,” he said. “We looked for a while and found nothing so I called a friend and asked him to bring our blood trailing dog.
"We realized later we didn’t need the dog because as we continued to search, we found more blood and walked up on the downed buck that had traveled some 150 yards before expiring.”
The buck, which earlier trail camera photos had shown to be in the 200-pound range, only weighed 167 pounds because of stress from the rut. But the antler spread was impressive, stretching the tape to 19 7/8 inches inside with main beams 25 inches each and bases approaching 5 inches.
The buck sported 143 2/8 inches of antler mass.
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.