"I was told not to hunt him last year because we really thought he could grow some more," Zachary's Chris Evans said. "He was a clean 10-point that we thought would score 135 to 140 inches."
What no one guessed is that the deer could add up to 50 inches of mass to its headgear in a year, making it a challenger to the state-record typical archery deer when Evans finally put it down Friday (Oct. 7).
The buck was a staple of the 1,200-acre piece of property last season, making appearances on trail cameras and in front of hunters.
In fact, Evans' buddy Cassidy Shaw and Shaw's son saw the deer with a 200-pound 8-point. Of course, they had to watch the big buck, but Shaw's son scored on the 8-point.
And when the season closed out, Evans began running trail cams again to see if the big boy had made it through the season.
"I saw him on trail cameras, so I knew he had made it," said Evans, who goes by "FunGi73" on the LouisianaSportsman.com forum. "After turkey season I put out some more cameras and saw him then, too."
That made for an anxious summer, with Evans hoping the deer would still be in the area when bow season opened.
It was. Trail cams proved the buck was killable, frequenting one of Evans' feeders during hunting hours.
But the animal was nowhere to be found when the season opened on Oct. 1.
"We have tons of daytime pictures of him, and then he did a disappearing act for the first week (of the hunting season)," Evans said.
Then it was located again, this time at Shaw's feeder.
Evans desperately tried to find a way to convince Shaw to allow him to hunt the deer. And it worked.
"I basically had to find him another buck on trail cams," Evans said.
So Shaw went after that deer – a 140-class 13-point that he killed on Thursday (Oct. 6) – and left the door open for Evans to arrow the monster.
Evans thought his work was going to pay off on Tuesday (Oct. 4) when several small bucks – including a 5-point and a wide 7-point the buck was known to run with– came to the feeder only 20 yards from the concealed hunter.
"The big buck came from way across the field," Evans said.
While the hunter nervously waited for the big buck to make its way across the field, the 7-point got nervous and ended up smacking one of the feeder's legs with its antlers. That brought the dominant buck in.
But Evans was forced to do no more than sit and watch, even though his trophy was less than 20 yards away.
"They ended up throwing down 15 yards from me, and I couldn't a shot," he explained.
The younger buck finally tucked tail and ran, its elder brethren in hot pursuit.
Evans couldn't believe he hadn't gotten a shot at the buck. But he had gotten a close-up view of the deer, and knew it was a monster.
"When I got to work, I did a rough estimate and came up with 181," he said. "I didn't tell anybody because they would think I was crazy."
And then nothing happened during the next couple of hunts. Not a deer showed up.
Friday morning, however, Evans had high hopes.
"The wind kind of picked up, and I said to myself, 'This is the kind of day I see a lot of deer come out to the fields,'" he said.
So he made sure he was in the stand that afternoon – and it paid off.
About 7 p.m., the same 5-point and 7-point pop out of the woods and head right to the feeder.
Evans held his breath for a couple of long minutes until the monster buck appeared about 30 yards away and headed straight for the feeder.
The hunter was ready to take his shot.
"I knew it was getting ready to happen when the two smaller bucks came out, so I got really, really nervous before he came out," Evans said. "So when he came out, I had calmed down."
The big-racked buck never let up, and soon was standing only 20 yards from Evans' position.
As soon as the deer stopped to feed, an arrow streaked into it – clipping its spine and putting it on the ground.
Evans couldn't believe he had shot high.
"I shot a lot before the season getting ready to hunt this deer," he said.
The buck was still alive, so Evans made sure it didn't get away.
"I emptied my quiver," he said. "This was a deer of a lifetime, and I said, 'I don't care if I break every arrow I own, it'll be worth it.'"
The buck soon was dead, and Evans hurried down the tree.
Although he had seen the deer just a few days before, he couldn't believe the size of the rack.
"There was no ground shrinkage," he said. "I've been known to have that happen to me, but it didn't this time."
The buck sported 12 main-frame points, along with three stickers, arrayed around thick beams stretching around 17 ¾ inches of air.
"His circumferences were still over 4 inches on his fourth measurement," Evans said.
The green score tallied 183 inches, with a typical net of 177 inches.
If that net score holds up, it would best the current state record by 2 inches, according to the Louisiana Big Game Records. Even if the rack shrinks 5 or 6 inches, it would be the second-largest typical deer ever killed with a bow.
The current record scored 175 inches Pope & Young, and was killed in 1981 in St. Mary Parish by Shannon Presley, the records reveal. The current No. 2 buck was killed in East Carroll Parish in 1998 by David Roselle, and taped out at 170 3/8 inches.
Evans' buck, which weighed only 170 pounds, cannot be officially scored until a 60-day drying period has passed.
The hunter said he thinks he actually has an adjacent landowner to thank for the massive-antlered deer.
"The guy next to us has for the past two years had gravity protein feeders," Evans said. "So we are assuming that's how he made a 40- to 50-inch jump."
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