For Louis Bradford, the wait lasted 61 years.
The Minden resident dropped a 13-point monster on Nov. 15 on a private lease near Cotton Valley which is between his hometown and the Arkansas state line. The giant buck weighed in at more than 200 pounds and scored 156 inches when it was taped at Simmons Sporting Goods in nearby Bastrop.
Bradford, a transportation driver and minister, said he has been hunting for more than 40 years, but he took up the pastime seriously about 20 years ago. During that time, he's regularly hunted the private land where the big buck was taken.
More often than not, he's accompanied by his two good buddies, Johnny Carton and Gregory Shyne.
The trio was together again on Nov. 15 and in their stands by 6 a.m. Bradford said Shyne kept texting him messages saying he was seeing a bunch of does in his area, but Bradford didn't have any activity.
That changed at 8:15 a.m. when the sun peeked from behind the clouds on that crisp fall morning. Fifteen minutes later, the buck made its presence known.
"He was texting me, saying to watch out, a lot of deer were moving by him," Bradford said. "I didn't see a thing until my deer walked straight out of the woods into a pipeline where we were. He just kept walking straight out of the woods and didn't hesitate at all."
Bradford raised his .270 rifle and dropped the animal from 200 yards with a clean shot just behind its front haunch.
"It fell immediately," he said.
That long shot was only half of the work, though, as the men were approximately 10 miles into the woods. Now, they would have to contend with bringing the buck back to civilization.
"We thanked God we had a four-wheeler," Bradford said. "He was so big, he was hanging off of it. He was just huge."
Though he's killed a bunch of 10-point bucks in his time, Bradford said this one was definitely his biggest. He's still excited by the happenings that day.
"I've survived three heart attacks and 20 years of hunting out there, and this is the blessing that God sent me," he said.
The buck will serve dual purposes for Bradford, his family and his friends. It's currently at a taxidermist's shop in Arcadia to be mounted into a trophy for Bradford's wall; the hunter said he'll certainly enjoy retelling the story of the day he downed the big buck with all who inquire.
But he'll also have the bounty of food a 200-pound animal can provide for holiday meals — and beyond.
"We're doing both, having it mounted and (readying it) for food," Bradford said. "We'll have a nice roast, but sausage and bacon, too. It's going to be nice."
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