Joey Turner is a serious deer hunter, and living in Marksville makes it convenient for him to hunt one of several wildlife management areas located not far from his home.

On Tuesday, Jan. 2, he and his hunting buddies headed for their camp on the outskirts of one of his favorite spots: Richard K. Yancey Wildlife Management Area in Concordia Parish.

“The weather was really cold, and although some of my buddies hunted that morning, I waited until noon to venture out,” said Turner, 33, who works for Dow Chemical in Plaquemine. “I had made a couple of hunts on the area earlier in the season and decided with a bucks-only season open, I’d see if I might be able to have an encounter with a particular buck we had not seen, but had found tracks, rubs and scrapes for — indicating he was a mature deer.”

Although it was cold, Turner said he worked up a sweat walking into the heart of the management area some 800 yards before reaching the spot he intended to hunt.

“I found a place with fresh scrapes and rubs, a spot along a ridge with thick underbrush,” he said. “I figured if a mature buck was going to be traveling, he would likely cross the ridge in the thicket and I wanted to be there if he did. 

“I felt good about the area, and around 2:30 I used my climbing stand to ascend about 15 feet up a tree that gave me a good view of the ridge and thicket.”

Settling into his stand, Turner waited half an hour, took out his rattling horns and gave them a couple of crashes. Not seeing anything, he waited another half hour and repeated the rattling procedure. A group of feral hogs came through and Turner was tempted to shoot one, but decided to hold off because he was more interested in bucks than boars. 

“After waiting another half hour, I crashed the antlers together a third time and I heard branches cracking behind me. Looking back, I saw a deer running toward me, and I could see at least eight points,” Turner said. “I had killed a smaller buck earlier in the season and decided if I was going to shoot another one, it would have to be a good one.”

When he realized he was looking at a buck he wanted to shoot, he got his Browning BAR .270 in position and when the deer trotted through the only small opening he could see, Turner squeezed the trigger and the buck collapsed.

“I didn’t know what I had shot, just that it was a good buck. When my friends hunting nearby heard me shoot, they texted me and I told them I had a good buck down but I had to sit in my stand a few minutes to calm down,” he said. “When I climbed down and started toward the deer, I expected it to get smaller the closer I got — but that didn’t happen, it seemed to grow bigger. 

“It was hard for me to realize I’d shot a deer this big on public land.”

The buck sported 12 points on a massive rack. The inside spread was 18 ⅛ inches, bases were more than 6 inches each, with main beams exceeding 25 inches. The buck was unofficially green-scored at 166 4/8 inches.

“My dad has killed deer in the 300-pound range, so I know what a deer that size looks like,” he said. “Although our scale was broken, we estimated the weight of my buck to be at least 280 pounds.”