Jennifer Wall had hunted her Madison Parish stand practically every day since deer season opened — but hadn’t seen a thing.
So it was an easy decision when her alarm sounded at 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 22 to turn it off, roll over and go back to sleep.
But advice her dad had given her long ago kept running through her mind.
“I remember my dad saying, ‘The morning you don’t go is the morning he’ll show up,’” Wall said. “So I crawled out of bed, got dressed and headed for my stand.”
She and her husband own and operate a corn and cotton farm with a 500-acre lease in the middle of the property — a lease that was CRP land.
“I was on the stand by 5:15. This box stand has sliding wooden windows on three sides with Plexiglass on the other,” she said. “My cousin had hunted my stand earlier and said while looking out the Plexiglass window he had seen a big deer but couldn’t tell what it was.”
Wall said it was cold with a strong wind blowing that Wednesday morning, and her friend in a nearby stand texted her about how bad the wind was, expressing doubt they’d see anything.
“I picked up my phone and sent her a text, agreeing that we were probably both wasting our time,” Wall said.
From her stand, Wall has a view of a big open field on one side and a CRP on the other, an area that was thick with brush and briars. She opened the window, laid her beanie on the ledge for a gun rest, took the sling off her rifle — a Remington 7mm-08 —and propped her gun in the window.
“I knew there was no way I’d see a decent deer coming across the open field, but I looked to my left and 50 yards away, I saw what looked like a horse with horns,” she said. “I dropped my phone in my lap, got my rifle up — and although the buck continued walking toward the CRP — I found his shoulder in my scope and touched the trigger.
“The deer buckled, but then took off into the briars and brush.”
Hearing the shot, Wall’s friend texted her and was told what had transpired. She offered to come immediately, but Wall told her to sit tight for a while.
“After texting my husband, who was hunting in Mississippi at the time, I decided to go to where the action had taken place and was discouraged when I found absolutely nothing indicating I had hit the deer,” she said. “I walked into the CRP maybe 50 yards without finding anything. I returned to my stand to allow my friend to hunt a while longer.”
Around 9:15, her friend joined her and the pair began scouring the heavy brush and briars for any sign she had hit the deer.
“My friend walked to the right and I headed left when I called to her and said I’d found a couple of drops of blood. She came over, we found more blood, and when we looked into a small clearing up ahead, we saw him lying there,” Wall said. “She and I did the ‘Rocky dance,’ jumping up and down and yelling. I took a photo of the buck with my phone, sent it to my husband and his first words were ‘Holy crap!’”
With the help of three other people, the massive 307-pound buck was loaded up on the side-by-side. The big deer sported a heavy rack featuring 11 points, with an inside spread of 18 5/8 inches.
At Simmons’ Sporting Goods in Bastrop, the big buck scored 177 inches and currently sits in first place in the women’s division. Wall’s taxidermist estimated the buck’s age at 8 ½ years, and had to order a special form from Saskatchewan because of the giant size of the deer.