Dr. Travis Links, a chiropractor who practices in his hometown of St. Francisville, has had his eye on a big buck for the past two to three years. But he didn’t have to travel too far to cross paths with the deer: The buck lives on the 25 acres where Links resides on the outskirts of St. Francisville.
“Although the acreage is not too large, the buck has eluded me this season,” Links said. “I actually saw him on Oct. 20, but because I am basically a bowhunter, he was too far to present a shot.
“I have two friends, Mike Smith and A.J. Daigle who have helped me see after my property and prepare my land to make it more attractive to deer. We put out protein in summer and keep three corn feeders out all year long.”
After hunting the buck for 15 straight days, Links began to grow discouraged as deer movement slowed significantly.
“I was about to give up and on Sunday, Jan. 7, I didn’t hunt that morning. My wife and I had dinner around 4:45 that afternoon, and after taking a look at the weather — which was chilly and overcast with drizzle — I told my wife, ‘I think I’ll go sit in the barn in back of the house just to see if something might be moving.’”
Before climbing into the barn, Links grabbed his bow, and although he normally doesn’t hunt with a rifle, decided to take along his Browning 7mm Mag just in case the buck was too far for a shot with his bow.
“I crawled up in the barn and soon after settling down, I looked down at one of my feeders 150 yards away and a doe stepped out. I was watching to see if perhaps the buck would be following her, and then I looked back behind my house and the big buck was at a feeder not 75 yards from my house — but some 300 yards from the barn where I sat,” he said. “I had put this feeder out near the house for my kids to get to watch deer and the buck was helping himself to the corn at the feeder right behind my house.”
Not having a good rifle rest, Links took a free-hand shot at the deer, which took off at the shot. With so little daylight left, Links climbed down, slung his rifle over his back, grabbed his bow and approached the area where the deer had been standing. When Links drew near, the buck — which had laid down in a thicket just 30 yards away — stood up.
“I nocked an arrow and released it, the deer took a couple of steps and dropped,” Links said. “When we cleaned the deer, we found my bullet had hit the deer just above the knee, definitely not a lethal shot.”
The buck, estimated to be 5 ½ years old, sported 12 points as a mainframe 10-point with two kickers. The inside spread was 18 ½ inches with long tines and heavy mass throughout, and the buck was green-scored at 158 6/8 inches.