Benny Bell teaches vocational agriculture at Ebarb High School, and as a modern day school teacher, he undoubtedly encounters an occasional surprise when dealing with teenaged students.
But nothing he might have experienced in the classroom could come close to the surprise he got on the morning of Oct. 28 while sitting on his DeSoto Parish deer stand: A monster buck no one had ever seen stepped out on the pipeline he was watching, and Bell got the big buck in his crosshairs.
“I was hunting with some friends on our 400-acre Weyerhaeuser lease when a buddy on stand up the line from me shot a deer, one that ran back into the woods. This happened around 7:20, and when my buddy sent a text that he needed help in locating his deer, I told him we would but suggested he wait an hour or so since it was still early,” Bell said. “I told him I’d head his way around 8:30 to help him look for his deer.”
Just before 8:30, Bell began gathering his hunting gear and preparing to help his friend look for his deer.
“I happened to look back down the right-of-way before climbing down from my platform stand when I saw this big buck step out onto the line 240 yards away,” Bell continued.
Bell had seen a nice 10-point buck on his trail camera in the area, and assumed this was the same deer.
“I didn’t even study the rack; I just knew the buck had a nice set of antlers so I got the scope on my Browning A-Bolt .270 on him, squeezed the trigger and the deer took off back the way he had come,” he recalled.
Texting his son, Joey, Bell told him he’d shot a pretty good buck. Joey soon joined him, and they arrived at the spot where the deer ran and found a fairly good blood trail.
“My son heard the deer jump up, so he laid his cap on the blood trail and we backed out to give my deer time to expire,” said Bell, 57. “We went to where my friend had shot his deer and were able to help him track down and retrieve his 6-point buck.”
Around 10:45, Bell, his son and some friends decided it was time to try and locate the big buck again. They trailed it into a small draw, and the deer was lying there but jumped up again and ran. Slipping along the blood trail, Bell got his first real look at his buck that was standing in a thicket with its rack tangled up in vines.
“When I was able to get a good look at him and his antlers, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I actually got a little woozy,” Bell said. “I was able to get a shot into the deer to finish him off. I knew this was definitely not the 10-point I was looking for because this deer had never shown up on our trail cameras and as far as I know, no one had ever seen him.”
The antlers on this huge buck almost defy description. Sporting 16 points with heavy palmation and impressive mass, along with an inside spread of 19 ½ inches, the big buck tipped the scales at 278 pounds. Bell entered the buck in the Simmons’ Sporting Goods big buck contest in Bastrop, where the tape stretched to 215 6/8 inches of antler mass.