John Stansbury was faced with a bit of a dilemma Christmas day: He and his wife were enjoying the company of his wife’s mom, including a lovely Christmas lunch, sharing gifts and everything else that goes with celebrating on Dec. 25. 

But as the shadows began lengthening in the late afternoon, Stansbury became restless.

Instead of sugar plums, images of a big buck he had on trail cameras on 200 acres he owns in Union Parish kept dancing through his head. 

He had his mind on hurrying out to the woods and trying for a chance at the big 12 point, which pictures showed was moving closer and closer to daylight hours. Stansbury felt at some point the buck would show itself before shooting time ended.

“I sort of rushed my wife, telling her we needed to leave so I could get on my stand before it was too late,” he said. “She finally agreed and we hurried home, I changed into my hunting clothes and got on my stand around 4 p.m.”

Stansbury hunts on a tripod stand that overlooks a clearing where he had placed corn and rice bran.

“I used to run cows on the land, but it has grown up and timber had been thinned earlier,” he said. “The area had grown up in brush and briars, but I left this one spot open.”

 Stansbury sat and waited from 4 until almost 5:30 — just before legal shooting hours ended — without seeing anything. But at 5:25, several does stepped out of the thicket to feed.

“As I watched these does, another doe walked out and right behind her was the buck I’d been seeing on my cameras,” Stansbury said. “He showed no interest in the other does, but was obviously interested in this one as she had apparently not been bred.”

Settling the crosshairs of the scope on his Ruger .270 on the buck’s vitals, he squeezed off a shot, and the buck ran and disappeared into the briars and brush. Then all was quiet.

“I got down and followed the blood trail and found the buck piled up in all the thick stuff 50 yards from where I shot him,” he said.

The buck sported 12 points on a rack with some interesting features. On the right side, the brow tine was unusually long and had two sticker points. The inside spread was more than 19 inches, and the most impressive characteristic were bases that stretched the tape to almost 6 inches each. The large-framed deer had lost weight during the rut, and tipped the scales at 175 pounds.

Stansbury took the buck to Simmons’ Sporting Goods in Bastrop to enter it in the store’s big buck contest, where it was scored at 156 ⅛ inches.