John Corso has hunted deer for the past 35 years on a 2,000-acre tract of land in DeSoto Parish — always accompanied by his trusty Kleinguenther K15 rifle.
He has shot quite a few deer with the old weapon, and it never failed him. But this year, the rifle started acting up and spraying bullets everywhere — so it was time for a change.
Leaving camp, he drove to a sporting goods store and bought a new Browning X-Bolt .300 Winchester and returned to the club. It didn’t take long for the new purchase to be well worth it: One shot at 230 yards dropped an impressive 14-point buck in its tracks.
“The old rifle had never let me down, but this year I missed two hogs at 150 yards so I knew the rifle’s days were numbered. I even bought a new scope and problems still persisted, so I knew I had to do something,” Corso said. “I had driven up with a friend, asked to borrow his truck, drove to Nichols in Coushatta and bought the new gun; then had to drive to Bass Pro in Shreveport for plates to mount the scope.
“After getting the new gun, mounting the scope and getting the gun sighted in, I hurried back to camp to get on my stand Saturday afternoon, anxious to give my new rifle a try. I saw several deer but nothing I wanted to shoot.”
The following morning Corso was greeted with warm temperatures — not the ideal situation for deer hunting. Admittedly, he wasn’t very hopeful of breaking in the new rifle. However, he did see a small 5-point that came to his bait pile, which consisted of corn and wild berry protein pellets mixed.
“After an hour with the weather so warm, I was starting to get drowsy and it took some effort to concentrate on the three shooting lanes I could see from my stand,” he said. “I checked my e-mails to stay alert and decided I’d check the lanes with my binoculars just to see if anything might be down there.
“As I scanned the long lane directly in front of my stand, I could see the body of a deer at the far end, some 230 yards away. Then he dropped his head and I said to myself, ‘Oh boy…there he is’, as I could see his big rack. He was facing me and seemed hesitant to give me anything broadside. He finally took a step and I could see his rear end. I started berating myself for not taking a head-on shot. I’ve killed lots of deer out to 300-350 yards. When he turned slightly, he gave me a look at his neck and shoulder. I put the crosshairs on him, squeezed the trigger and he dropped right there.”
Corso climbed down from his box stand, walked down to the deer and realized he’d shot a buck that had only shown up on his trail camera one time two nights before. He counted 14 points and could tell the antlers were long with heavy mass.
“When we got the deer back to camp, we put a tape on his rack to get a measurement. With 14 points, 24-inch main beams, a spread of 16 ½ inches and 12 inch G2s, 10 inch G3s and bases over 5 inches each, I knew I had something special,” he said.
The initial measurement was just over 150 inches of antler mass.