On Saturday (Oct. 27), Preaus was once again in the right place at the right time when a big 10 point buck that later scored out at 149 2/8 inches stepped into his sight picture.
"While the big deer last year was taken on our family property, this year I was hunting on the Shiloh Hunting Club in Union Parish with other club members when I got this buck," Preaus explained.
With the help of his dad, Preaus prepared things the way he liked around a box stand he has at the hub of several shooting lanes.
"Except for the area where Dad and I cleared the lanes, the brush was real thick, and a 200-yard-long lane where I had a feeder and mineral block connected with a three-year old clear cut," he said.
The thing that caused Preaus to focus his attention on this particular area and take such pains to get things just right were two trail cam photos of a big 10-point buck, the one he set his sights on. One photo was made just prior to bow season opening, while the second showed the buck in the area one week before gun season opened.
"I hunted Saturday morning, which was opening day for gun season in Area 2, and saw several deer," Preaus said. "We believe in herd management and take plenty of does on our club, but since I knew the big buck was in the area I decided to hold off on shooting a doe on opening day."
Returning to the stand that afternoon, Preaus was hopeful the big buck would show himself. One trail-cam photo made a week earlier revealed the buck had appeared during daylight hours in late afternoon, so he was locked and loaded for the buck should it make an appearance.
There was plenty of action to keep his attention while he waited.
"I got on the stand about 4 p.m., and by 4:30 some does and yearlings started showing up," Preaus said. "About 5:15, some more does came to the feeder and began feeding but a couple of them kept looking back down the lane."
At first he didn't think much of it, and then things started clicking in place.
"I was texting some hunting buddies when it occurred to me I'd better put the phone down and get ready because I believed those curious does were trying to tell me something," he said. "I had just laid down the phone, looked up and he stepped out at the end of the lane."
The buck started up the lane toward the does, but as savvy mature bucks often do he used his sense of smell to check the does for breeding readiness. The buck stopped short of the feeder where a trail crossed the lane and after observing the does, he turned and started into the thicket — pausing broadside for the instant Preaus needed to touch the trigger on his Remington Model 700 .30-06.
The buck bolted, but Preaus heard him crash down some 50 yards away.
The buck sported 10 points, with impressive tine lengths. Only 14 ¾ inches of air separated the two main beams, but this was more than made up with an 11-inch G-3, 10-inch G-2 and main beams stretching 24 inches long. Bases were 4 ½ inches around.
The deer weighed 190 pounds and Preaus estimated him to be 4 ½ years old.
"I took the buck to Simmons Sporting Goods and to TP Outdoors to enter in their big buck contest. It scored 149 2/8 (inches Boone & Crockett) at both locations," Preaus said.
After being featured with impressive bucks two years in a row, is Preaus shooting for a tri-fecta?
"That'd be cool, but I next year, I want to get one scoring at least 150 inches," he said.
Click here to read about Preaus' 2011 buck. Click here to read about other big bucks killed this season.
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