Hunter Thomas likes to hunt from his comfortable and cozy box stand on his family’s land near Ajax in Natchitoches Parish. He was running a tad late, but that’s where he was headed on the morning of Nov. 9.
Lucky for him, he never actually made it inside the stand.
The tract the 23-year-old was hunting features some cutover land that’s grown up with thickets, has a hardwood bottom, big gullies and a swampy brake on the back side of the property. His box stand overlooks three shooting lanes, two of which are planted with food plots.
“Just as I was getting to my stand that morning, it was already starting to get daylight when I made out the form of a big deer about 80 yards away with his head down working on the bait pile I’d left there,” Thomas recalled.
One particular deer had captivated his interest, a buck he had only seen on his trail cameras two nights prior, and that photo was captured at midnight.
“I didn’t figure this was the big buck I was looking at since he hadn’t made an appearance except that one time in the middle of the night,” he said. “I was a few yards away from my stand and I knew if I tried to climb in, I’d spook the deer. I decided to go to Plan B: I eased to the ground to wait until it was light enough for me to see.”
As daylight arrived, Thomas was able to see that the deer he was looking at was, in fact, probably the big buck he had seen on his trail cam.
“I shoot a Remington 7mm Ultra-Mag that fortunately has a bi-pod attached,” he said. “I was able to assume a prone position, ease the bi-pod into position and wait for the deer to turn broadside.”
Apparently the corn Thomas had scattered along the plot had the buck’s full interest because it continued to eat with its head down, with Thomas positioned on the ground 80 yards away.
“I wanted him to turn broadside and he continued facing my direction with his head down. I was starting to get nervous and wondered if I’d ever get a shot on the buck. I made up my mind that the next time he put his head down, I’d aim for the area between his shoulder blades,” Thomas said. “His head went down, I got the scope on the spot and squeezed the trigger. The buck hit the ground and never moved. I called my dad and told him I’d gotten the big one we’d seen on our trail camera.
Statistics on the buck were quite impressive: Sporting a mainframe 10-point rack with a split brow tine, the inside spread measured 18 ½ inches. The buck was estimated to weigh about 250 pounds, and was green scored at 153 2/8 inches Boone and Crockett.