Jason Futrell is serious about managing deer on the 400-acre tract of Grant Parish land he and a friend lease not far from his home in Colfax. As a result of trying to do things the right way, the 36-year-old hunter put the crosshairs of his scope on a heavy-antlered 8-point buck Oct. 28, opening day for still hunting in Area 2.
“My buddy and I lease this tract from Hancock Timber Company, and for the past 15 years of so, we have tried to manage it to improve the quality of deer on the property,” he said. “Our goal is for us to only shoot mature deer — those at least 3 ½ years old or older. We let our kids shoot 2 ½ year old deer, but we try to let the deer get some age on them before we decide to take them.”
Food plots are utilized, and several cameras are used to try and determine just what deer are on the hunting lease. On opening morning, though, one showed up that Futrell had never seen on camera.
“I had my eye on one good 8-point with an antler spread of probably 17 to 18 inches — one I’d seen on camera, and he had started to show up during daylight hours,” said Futrell, an employee at Plastipak in Pineville. “Because of my work schedule, I had not been able to get my deer rifle sighted in, but I have a primitive firearm I have confidence in so I decided to use it to see if the 8-point would show up.”
Getting in his box stand before daylight, Futrell settled in with his stainless steel H&R .45-70 hoping the 8-point he’d seen on camera would walk out. Once daylight arrived, he saw couple of does cross a right of way where timber had been harvested, leaving a shooting lane.
“While I was watching the lane, I saw a good buck step out of a stand of pines on the edge of a thicket. Although I had corn and rice bran on the lane, this deer wasn’t headed for the food; he was just crossing the lane where the does had crossed an hour or so earlier,” he said. “Even at over 160 yards, I could tell it was bigger than the 8-point I had been targeting.
“The buck was walking steadily, (but) I got him in my crosshairs and squeezed the trigger. The buck dropped in his tracks. I reloaded and waited to be sure he was down before walking down to check him. I realized this was a deer neither my hunting partner nor I had ever seen, and he had never shown up on our cameras. I took some photos with my phone and sent them to my wife and my hunting partner and told them I’d just killed a monster buck.”
Statistics on the big deer were impressive. Sporting a symmetrical 8-point rack, the buck was measured later by Futrell’s taxidermist who scored the rack at an even 160 inches — quite a score for an 8-point. Brow tines measured 9 inches each, with G2s near 12 inches each. Bases were more than 5 inches each in circumference, and the inside spread was 18 6/8 inches.
The buck weighed 185 pounds, and was estimated to be only 3 ½ to 4 ½ years old.