When Amanda Smith departed for her deer stand on Jan. 13 in Avoyelles Parish, her husband Scotty jokingly told her not to come home unless she was bringing back some fresh venison.
Smith, 33, of Brouillette, accomplished that — and a whole lot more — when she dropped a jaw-dropping 25-point non-typical buck that stretched the tape to more than 240 inches Boone and Crockett.
But it wasn’t easy — a fogged up scope nearly cost her a shot at the deer of a lifetime when the buck made its way down a trail about 5:40 p.m. that chilly Saturday afternoon.
Smith had gotten to the stand about 3:30 and lit her heater, then shut if off shortly before the big buck appeared.
“As he was coming my way, he stopped behind a tree and stood there for a minute, then continued to walk on toward me. My heart began to race, and I knew I had to calm myself down fast,” she wrote in an email to Louisiana Sportsman. “I got my .444 ready, but when I looked through my scope it was totally fogged up because my heater had been on in my stand.
“Thank goodness I had a couple spare Kleenex with me, so I grabbed one and wiped away the fog from my scope. Finally, I had a little spot I could see the deer through, so I took aim and shot.”
After squeezing the trigger from only about 30 yards, Smith turned her head and listened to see if she could hear the deer running — but heard nothing.
“So I turned back and there he was still standing,” she said. “Then, he just dropped right before my eyes. It was crazy!”
She hit her knees when she went down to examine the “Rougarou” buck, which earned its nickname from the legendary werewolf creature from Cajun folklore because the free-range deer looked like a monster on trail cam pictures.
“Tears came to my eyes as I began to count his horns, and I realized I had done something most people dream of doing and never get the chance …” she said. “My husband came running down the hill — he was astounded and maybe a little more excited than me.
“We celebrated and thanked God for the meat he provided … and thanked him for giving me and my family the opportunity to experience the hunt and deer of a lifetime.”
The big buck’s rack was eventually green-scored by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Deer Study Leader Johnathan Bordelon, who pegged the deer at 240 ⅝ gross and 228 ⅜ net B&C. The majestic buck, which was aged at about 7 years old, also scored 249 2/8 under the Buckmasters scoring system.
The incredible rack featured an inside spread greater than 21 inches, with base circumferences on both sides over 7 inches. One brow tine was more than 9 inches long, the other exceeded a foot.
Depending on the official score next month after the mandatory 60-day drying period, the Rougarou buck will likely land in Louisiana's Top 5 non-typicals of all time.