On the morning of Nov. 16, Spinney took another long shot, one he later verified by his range finder at 347 yards —a shot that brought down a trophy 12-point buck that scored 165 7/8 inches Boone & Crockett.
"When the buck stepped out, my eyeball estimate was about 250 yards," Spinney explained. "When I found the buck and put the range finder back on my box stand, I was astounded that the distance was actually 347 yards."
Spinney, pastor of First Baptist Church in Haughton, was hunting on Walnut Creek Hunting Club in western Lincoln Parish, a club in which he has held membership for the past 20 years. The rut was in full swing the morning of Nov. 16 as he sat in his box stand on a pipeline and watched several bucks chasing does across the pipeline.
"I got on my stand early that morning, and between daylight and 8:30 I observed several does being chased by small bucks, so I knew things could get interesting in a hurry," he said.
About 8:30, Spinney watched a 14-inch 8-point chase a doe, but he held off trying for this buck, electing to save it for his son, who would be hunting with him the next day.
"Most of the activity I saw that morning was down the pipeline to my west, so I had my gun out the window on that side of the stand so I could be ready if a big buck came out," Spinney said.
As he kept his eye on the pipeline and watched the rutting activity going on, he spotted a big buck down the line, one his trail cameras had never photographed and one no member of the club had ever seen.
"I could see that this was a really good buck, so I decided to take him. He stepped to the middle of the pipeline, I put the crosshairs on my .270 Winchester short mag on him and squeezed the trigger," Spinney said.. "At the shot, the buck whirled in a circle and took off in the direction he had come from.
"I saw nothing to indicate I had hit the deer."
Spinney waited 35 to 40 minutes before climbing down from his stand to see if his shot was true. His initial search created a growing concern that he had missed the buck.
"I walked down to where I thought he was standing when I shot and found nothing, not a drop of blood, a hair or even any tracks. I started walking down the line looking for evidence just in case I had misjudged where the buck was standing," he added.
Continuing to walk and search, Spinney found an area of disturbed ground that looked like a deer had left in a hurry. Looking into the woods just off the line, there laid the buck, which had only traveled 15 yards after being shot.
"The shot hit him square in the shoulder and hit the heart. The only blood I found was beneath the deer when I moved him," he said.
The buck, which tipped the scales at 207 pounds, sported an impressive 12 points. The rack was not especially wide, measuring 16 ½ inches inside, but tine length and mass were impressive. Main beams stretched 24 ½ inches, bases were 5 inches and the G-2s, G3s, G4s and G5s measured respectively 7, 9, 8 and 3 inches.
"I've been in this club for 20 years, and this is the nicest buck any of us has ever killed there," he said.
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