The majority of deer hunters today follow a basic pattern: They bush hog, disc and plant food plots, use feeders and then climb into stands often outfitted with carpet, a heater and a comfy swivel chair.
Then there are hunters like 30-year-old Seth Davis of Glenmora. He heads east across the state from his home to do it like it was done decades ago: He walks deep into the forest — farther than the average hunter wants to go — until he finds buck sign. Then he leans up against a tree and waits.
On Nov. 26, his strategy paid off when a massive 250-pound buck stepped out at 40 yards.
“This is the way I hunt, and my go-to spot is in the Catahoula Parish portion of the Dewey Wills Wildlife Management Area,” Davis said.
For the past six seasons, Davis has hunted Dewey Wills, and he said he uses squirrel season to find out where the deer are hanging out, what trails they use and where they make rubs and scrapes.
“When I go over there to squirrel hunt, I keep one eye on the trees for squirrels and the other on the ground, looking for buck sign,” he said. “With so much water on this area, I will sometimes take a boat and navigate the streams, looking for deer sign.”
On the morning of the 26th, Davis’ dad, who lives in Texas, came over to deer hunt with his son. After dropping his dad off at a good-looking spot, Davis marked his dad’s location on his GPS, and then continued on another 200 yards until he found an area that looked good to him.
“I found a spot where I had found buck sign earlier, an area with some openings and natural lanes through the woods where I could see, then leaned up against a big tree and waited,” he said.
As Davis waited, watched and listened, he heard approaching footsteps in the dry leaves behind him. Turning his head just enough to be able to determine the source of the noise, he saw a big deer coming from behind and just to his right. When it was about 50 yards away, he saw antlers.
“I couldn’t see his rack very well but the body size let me know this was a good mature buck. I hadn’t shot a decent buck in probably 10 years so I got a little excited when I saw how big this buck was,” Davis said. “At 40 yards, I got the scope of my Winchester .270 Short Mag on him and fired. The deer hit the ground and began crawling forward toward me. The buck died not 10 yards from where I was standing. I just stood there for several minutes trying to calm down and come to grips with the trophy I had just shot.”
Not wanting to disturb his dad’s hunt, Davis began dragging the big buck in the direction of the nearest road — some 400 yards away. Hearing him, his dad joined in and the pair was able to eventually get the deer out to the road.
The buck, which tipped the scales at 250 pounds, was a main-frame 8-point with a kicker. The inside spread was 17 6/8 inches, with heavy mass carried through the rack. The deer was later measured and scored 165 inches of antler bone.
“The cool thing for me was having my dad there with me,” Davis said, “because he had never experienced anybody getting a big swamp buck like this one.”