Chris Hart had his eye on a big Union Parish buck which had shown up several times on trail cams at the 7,000-acre Shiloh Hunting Club.

So the Ruston hunter shared dinner with his mom on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, and then headed for Shiloh around 3 that afternoon.

“Once I got to the club, I realized since it was getting late, I wouldn’t have time to get to the stand where the big one had been hanging out. Instead, I opted to go to one of my stands near the camp,” Hart said.

That box stand sits on a food plot planted with wheat and purple top turnips, with shooting lanes situated in planted pines around the stand. Hart said the deer utilize the wheat early in the season, but had been working on the turnips since the weather had turned colder.

“It was getting late with only about 10 minutes of legal shooting time left when I looked down the lane and saw a big buck step into the lane, and it began walking directly toward me,” he said. “I got my binoculars on him and realized his rack was well outside his ears, so I knew he was a shooter. When he turned his head to look into the woods, I could see how tall the tines were and I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, that’s a dandy!’”

With the light fading, the deer continued walking directly toward him — never turning for a broadside shot. So Hart put the crosshairs of his Remington .30-06 on the buck’s chest and squeezed the trigger.

“At the shot, the buck hit the ground, and did a couple of doughnuts before heading for the thicket,” he said. “I thought I heard him crash.”

By that time, it had gotten almost dark so Hart notified another club member who came to help track the wounded deer. Finding a little blood, they knew that the one flashlight Hart had was not powerful enough to follow the trail — so they returned to camp for another.

“Once we got back on his trail, we found the buck maybe 5 yards from where we had stopped to go get the other light,” he said. 

The deer had never shown up on Hart’s trail cameras, but other members had pictures of it on the other side of the club. Hart assumed the buck was just out cruising for estrous does — and he happened to be in the right place at the right time.

The buck was a mainframe 10-point, with a kicker off one G2, making it an 11-point. The inside spread was 18 inches, with main beams nearly 2 feet long and G2s running 12 inches, with mass throughout the rack. The buck was green-scored at 150 ⅝ inches.

“When we got him back to the camp, we put him on our scales that top out at 225 pounds,” Hart said. “The scale hit 225 and actually exploded from the weight.

 “We’re guessing he is in the 240-pound range.”