Four-year odyssey results in 188-inch swamp buck
Franklin's Kevin Breaux has been after this deer for several years, and finally connected with the 188-inch deer this week.
“Four seasons ago, I found this buck on my trail camera, and he was estimated to be 3 ½ years old then,” Breaux said. “He was a main-frame 10-point with a couple of sticker points back then, and I set my sights on bagging this buck.”
Breaux only got one photo of the buck from that camera that year because someone stole it. He bought another camera, mounted it on a tree out of sight from the levee from which the theft took place and got one more photo of the buck that year.
“The following year, I bought several more cameras and put them out around the area and got more pictures of the buck,” Breaux said. “He had really blown up that second year, I mean he was huge; he had kicker points and a drop tine.”
Prior to the opening of the 2009 season, the buck seemed to have moved onto Breaux’s property for good because photos showed up on his cameras with regularity, both day and night. The buck had gotten even bigger with a split G-2.
“Last year, it took too much time to get my cane harvested – I didn’t finish until on in January – and while I didn’t get to hunt, the photos showed the buck all around my stand tending a doe,” he said.
That trend continued into the current hunting season.
“This year I put out six cameras and got dozens of photos of the buck, mostly at night but some during daylight,” Breaux said. “I have several climbing stands scattered around the area and really felt confident that he was staying around my place and I had a good chance at seeing him.”
Click here to see two trail-cam images of the deer.
Breaux’s hunting partner is brother-in-law Shane Bagala, who was pulling for Breaux to get the big buck.
“I hunted out of state last year, and Shane wouldn’t even go back there to hunt because he wanted me, not him, to have a crack at the buck,” Breaux said.
Breaux’s 650-acre sugar cane field backs up to a swamp that covers thousands of acres. A portion of the swamp is on his land, and on days he and Bagala hunted the swamp they’d make a commitment to go and stay all day because of the distance they’d have to walk plus the area was a tangle of thickets and water.
“Shane hunted in there the week before I killed the buck and heard deer walking in an area we couldn’t see from our stands, so he moved one of my stands to give me better access,” Breaux said. “That Friday morning, Shane was supposed to take his son to hunt another buck he’d seen on the camera, but at the last minute the son couldn’t go so we decided to head for the swamp.
“However, this change in plans put us late and, while I usually get on my stand by 5:30, it was already 6:20 before I found my stand,” Breaux said.
Breaux’s stand was on a cypress that was big at the bottom but narrowed down significantly at the height he climbed.
“I had to face the tree because if I faced away from the tree, the stand tilted too much making it unsafe,” he said. “I sprayed some doe-in-heat, and noticed the wind blew the spray behind me.
“Ten minutes after getting in the stand, I heard something behind me, so I slowly stood up and turned around. It’s so thick in there with palmetto and downed timber I could see no more than 35 yards or so, and I could tell whatever was walking out there was coming my way.”
Finally, the deer stepped through an opening large enough for Breaux to tell it was the buck he was after.
At the next opening the deer entered, 20 yards away, Breaux was ready and his 270 Browning A-Bolt found its mark.
The buck bolted and fell a scant 10 yards from Breaux’s tree.
“He was struggling to get up, so to be sure he wouldn’t get away I ended up shooting him three more times,” Breaux said. “I stared down from my stand at the buck and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
The buck, which carried a gross green score of some 188 inches, weighed 205 pounds.
The 14-point rack was massive with 5 1/8-inch bases that maintained 5-inch circumferences at all measurements on both sides. The G2s were 12 inches long, with G3s being almost 11 inches. The inside spread was 18 ¼ inches.
“I knew I needed to get this buck this year because at 6 ½ years old, he’d start losing inches,” said Breaux.
What a fantastic way to end a four-year odyssey.
Visit the Nikon Deer of the Year contest to see more bucks killed this season and to enter your own photos. Only registered users are eligible to win the monthly and grand prizes, so be sure and sign up today!
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