Parker, who lives in Florien and attends 6th grade at Negreet Junior High, faced a bit of indecision as to which stand to hunt as he and step-dad Charlie Manasco quickened their pace in the gathering light.
"Parker at first wanted to go sit on his ladder stand," Manasco explained. "However, I offered him my climber, which would give him a clear view of the pond where we knew deer were watering. With the drought we've had, there is very little available water in these woods, and deer tracks were thick around the edges of the pond.
"I had killed a doe on that stand the day before so I wasn't going to hunt today. I felt like this would be the best spot for Parker to have a chance at one of the other does I'd seen the day before. He agreed so I put him in my climber and scooted him about six feet up the tree."
After getting the young hunter settled in, Manasco walked back to his truck about 200 yards away to check phone messages.
As Founds got comfortable in the stand, he watched a shooting lane that dissected the pond some 50 yards down range. He was hoping he'd get to put his scope on his .260 Ruger on a doe.
"I had been sitting there for an hour or so when I heard something and saw a deer walk out into the lane across the pond, and (it) was headed to get water," Founds said. "I thought it was a doe.
"When the deer got closer to the pond, I realized it was a buck – I thought it was a nice 8-point – and when it stepped out of some tall weeds onto the muddy bank of the pond, I forgot about horns and concentrated on getting a good shot."
Parker said as the deer approached the pond, a fish jumped, momentarily spooking the buck, but the deer quickly settled back down.
When the buck stepped into an opening, Founds was ready.
"I got my gun off safety and put the scope on the deer, which was quartering toward me. I squeezed the trigger, and the buck dropped right there," Founds recalled.
Founds reaction was probably the same as any 12-year-old who had just shot a good buck.
"I was so excited," Founds remembered. "I started yelling, and that whole tree was shaking I was so nervous."
Manasco was near enough to hear the shot and Parker yelling, so he hurried to see what the youngster was so excited about.
"Before I got to Parker, I could see the deer lying on the bank next to the pond, and was thinking he'd shot a nice 6-point, maybe even an 8-point," Manasco said. "When we got to the deer, one side of the rack was buried in mud.
"I pulled it up and started counting points. When I told Parker there were 14 points, the kid nearly went nuts."
In comparison with the headgear, the body of the buck was relatively small, estimated to weigh between 150 and 160 pounds. The inside spread was 16 inches.
The buck has not been officially scored but Manasco estimated the score in the 140 and 150 inches Boone & Crockett.
"If Parker hadn't hunted that stand, we would probably have never known a buck like that was on the place," Manasco said. "The failure to set the clocks didn't hurt anything at all; in fact, it probably helped."
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