For the past 21 years, Teddy Dupuy has driven some two and a half hours from his home in St. Amant to the Kisatchie National Forest — his absolute favorite place to hunt deer.
The 52-year-old contractor takes his vacation the week around Thanksgiving when the rut is kicking in, and he and his wife drive up in their RV and park in the Williana campground in Grant Parish.
While he hunts the whole week, his wife is content to stay in the RV, reading and watching movies.
The area Dupuy likes to hunt is where a select cut has been made with the pines, leaving heavy brush in windrows. He climbs 30 feet up so he can see into the thickets that have grown since the last timber harvest.
On Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 23, he had even more to be thankful for when he downed a huge 8-point buck that green-scored 158 inches.
“I scouted the portion of the forest I like to hunt on Saturday and found evidence of a good buck leaving sign in the area,” Dupuy said. “I started setting up on him Sunday afternoon. On Monday, I got a glimpse of a big buck - I felt it was the one I was after – but he got by without me being able to get a shot.”
Not to be deterred, Dupuy moved his climber some 30 yards in the direction the buck had walked, hoping to be there should the deer decide to take the same basic travel route. But Dupuy hunted all day Tuesday and Wednesday, and didn’t see much of anything.
“I saw a spike Tuesday. Nothing happened Wednesday, but on Thanksgiving morning, things started to become interesting,” he said. “The spike showed up again with four does; he was messing with them, chasing them around when I turned to look behind me and I saw a big buck about 40 yards away.
“I hadn’t heard him, but just happened to look behind me and there he was.”
The buck showed an interest in the does and started walking toward them. Dupuy found an opening in the brush, and when the buck stepped into it, one shot from his .35 Whelen did the trick. The buck, obviously hit, took off running.
“I waited probably 30 minutes before climbing down, walked over to where he was standing when I shot and found blood,” Dupuy said. “It was no trouble following the blood trail to where he lay. He was every bit as good as I thought he would be.”
The buck, a typical 8-point with an inside spread that measured 20 ¾ inches, had main beams in the 22-inch range, with G2s that were 10 and 9 inches long with 5 ½-inch bases and mass carried throughout the rack.
Estimated to be 6 years old, the buck weighed 190 pounds and green-scored 158 inches of bone.