Zach Roszell has access to a couple of hunting leases near his home in Effie, but chose to hunt his family farmland in Avoyelles Parish on Friday, Dec. 22.
A big buck had shown itself on camera for the first time only three days earlier on a portion of the farm that no one had hunted this season.
So in spite of the fact that the only stand there was an old uncomfortable ladder stand, Roszell, 28, decided the trail camera photos were ample reason to give it a try.
“The stand was one nobody wanted to sit on because there was a big limb that had never been trimmed, a limb that meant if you sat on it, you’d have to twist around to allow for the limb in the way,” Roszell said.
After a morning hunt that did not produce a single sighting, Roszell actually walked the banks of a canal next to the stand, looking for a suitable place to sit on the ground. Not finding anything to his satisfaction, he resigned himself to climbing back onto the old ladder for the afternoon hunt.
“The weather was anything but suitable that day,” Roszell said. “The temperature hit near 80 degrees and not only was the stand uncomfortable, I had to swat mosquitoes all afternoon.”
With only about 30 minutes of shooting time left, Roszell finally saw his first action of the day. A button buck stepped out into an opening to feed on the corn, rice bran and soybeans there — but Roszell noticed the little buck kept looking back in the direction it had come.
“After the yearling had been there for 10 minutes or so, a big doe stepped out and she soon began looking at me, freezing me in position,” Roszell said. “The doe finally walked off and when I turned to see if the yearling was still there just off to my left, there was the big buck.
“I really don’t know where he came from.”
Realizing this was the same deer that had appeared on camera only three days before and that it was now standing only 40 yards away, Roszell knew everything would have to fall into place for a good shot.
“Since the ladder had no shooting rail, I had carried a forked stick into the stand with me and was able to ease my Remington 7mm onto the stick, get the crosshairs on him and squeeze the trigger,” he said. “The buck dropped in his tracks right there.”
Even though the buck hit the ground, Roszell remembered shooting a 10-point that also had dropped — but wound up getting up and running as he gathered his equipment. Not wanting to take a chance with this deer, Roszell kept his scope on the buck for at least five minutes to make sure it was down for the count.
The big deer was a genuine trophy, sporting 13 points on a rack with configuration that’s hard to describe: heavy palmation on one side, sporting three main beams with a kicker off the back. The inside spread was 17 ½ inches, with one base circumference stretching the tape more than 7 inches. The buck weighed 255 pounds, with antlers that green-scored 167 4/8 inches.