Brad Doughty got his big Christmas present one day late last month. On Dec. 26, Doughty downed a big 11-point deer on Jackson Bienville Wildlife Management Area that scored just more than 150 inches Boone & Crockett.

Taking such a quality buck on public land is commonplace for the Downsville resident, who only deer hunts on public land — and with good reason.

"There are some big, mature deer there," Doughty said. "For the past 13 years, I've only hunted public management areas, mainly D'Arbonne, Union and Jackson Bienville (WMAs). The past few years, I have mostly hunted Jackson Bienville because it seems this area has more really good bucks.

"I don't shoot does here, but get my venison on D'Arbonne and Union. I leave the does alone on Jackson Bienville because I know they're likely to bring a good buck my way."

Jackson Bienville WMA consists of some 25,000 acres, and is owned principally by Weyerhaeuser Company. Active timber management works takes place on the area perpetually, and Doughty believes this activity creates the perfect habitat for deer to live longer and, thus, to develop heavy bodies and impressive racks.

Jackson Bienville is a popular among hunters from all over the state. That fact doesn't bother Union Parish resident Doughty in the least, because the areas in which he regularly encounters mature bucks are those also heavily hunted by other hunters.

In fact, he hunts these heavily pressured areas for precisely the same reasons other hunters flock to the sections of the WMA — well, sort of.

"Lots of hunters like this area because there are lots of doe there, and if you're looking for freezer meat, this is a good place," Doughty explained. "The fact that there is a good population of does is also attractive to me, not for meat but (because) where there are does, there are bucks."

Earlier this season, Doughty downed a big 230-pound 8-point in the area on a morning he was surrounded by other hunters.

"I heard a buck grunting and got a glimpse of him as he moved into a little thicket and apparently laid down. Around mid-morning, the other hunters left, and I was able to use my Primos Can and grunt call to bring the buck out of his bed where I shot him," he said.

On Dec. 26, Doughty secured his climbing stand to a big pine and scaled some 35 feet up the tree to enable him to see down into the thick growth where he felt deer were hanging out.

"I had seen does in this thick stuff earlier and, as the rut was kicking in, I felt I might get a chance at a buck following a doe," he said.

The hunch was dead on.

"Around 7:30 that morning, I heard some hogs off to my left and turned to look in that direction. When I turned back, I saw a deer move in the thicket," Doughty said. "When he turned to look toward me, I could see the tall, heavy rack and knew this was a mature buck.

"When he stepped out into a trail about 70 yards away, I shot and he ran into a pine thicket. I got down, followed the blood trail for 50 yards and found him piled up."

The buck was a dandy, especially for heavily hunted public property. The rack featured 11 points with an inside spread of 15 7/8 inches, G2s of 12 1/8 inches, G-3s 9 3/8 inches and 5-inch bases.

Doughty took the deer to TP Outdoors in Monroe, where it was entered in the store's big buck contest with a score of 150 ⅜ inches.

He said he was proud to have killed the deer, but chalked up his success to all the work he puts in.

"I talk with biologists and enforcement agents who work this area, and find where mature bucks have been seen," Doughty said. "I scout heavily, and when I find big rubs and thick foliage, this is where I hunt.

"On this particular spot I have killed several good bucks because the area features cover and food sources — everything a mature deer might look for."

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