On Howard Caviness’ Lincoln Parish lease, one buck definitely stood out from the crowd. So he and his son nicknamed the deer “Godfather,” and on Dec. 9 finally made it an offer it just couldn’t refuse. 

Caviness, who has served as chief of police for Grambling State University for the past four years, leases a 79-acre tract of land near Choudrant in eastern Lincoln Parish.

It’s been an exceptional year for the chief because the day after Thanksgiving, he downed Godfather’s running partner — a fine 10-point that scored in the mid-130s. 

“We had these two deer on game cameras since last summer,” Caviness said. “Neighbors who hunted land around us had the pair of bucks on their cameras, as well.

“All this season, the trail camera shots we got were always of the pair. If one was in the photo, the other one was as well. After I got the smaller 10-point, the big one just disappeared. We didn’t get any more photos of him.”

Caviness didn’t hunt the morning of the 9th, but headed for one of the two stands he and his son have on the property that afternoon. His son declined the invitation to hunt, saying he planned to try the following morning. So Caviness asked him which stand he planned to hunt: a lock-on on one side of the property, or a ladder stand on the other. His son chose the lock-on, so Caviness headed for the ladder.

“The property consists of cut-over land with young planted pines on each side of a ravine,” he explained. “My ladder stand is located across the ravine, and since I couldn’t get a tractor across, I hacked out two shooting lanes, about 100 yards each, with a machete. I worked my tail off, but I was able to have two lanes I could watch.”

Getting on his stand at around 2:45, Caviness sat nearly two hours without seeing anything. At 4:40, a doe stepped out at the far end of one of his lanes, turned and looked directly at him for several minutes. The deer finally turned and angled back in the direction it had come.

“My stand is well camouflaged so I know she didn’t see me. After she walked off, I texted my son, telling him about the doe. When I looked back up, Godfather was standing where the doe had stood and he, too, was looking my direction,” Caviness said. “I eased my Remington .300 Short Mag up, got a bead on his neck, touched the trigger and he dropped right there.”

The buck, also a 10-point with most of the points on one side of its rack, featured heavy mass throughout. The inside spread was 19 ¾ inches, main beams were 24 inches and bases measured nearly 5 inches each. The deer weighed 198 pounds, and was green-scored at 158 inches.

“Next year should be interesting,” Caviness said. “We have Godfather’s son on camera and by then, he’s going to score in the 150s as well.”