The time and effort Michael Marciante spent carefully concealing and brushing a ground blind at his West Feliciana Parish lease over Labor Day weekend paid off pretty quick just before dark on opening day.

That's when Marciante took down a non-typical 165-pound 9-pointer with three main beams with his first shot of bow season early Tuesday evening.

“It was right before dark and I was getting ready to get out of the blind, but I saw some deer that I had seen earlier coming back,” said Marciante, 37, a health and safety advisor for Shell Pipeline Co. “And there was one last deer in the back of the food plot, and he kind of locked up and was staring into the woods.

“He turned and bolted, and this dude just came almost on a trot and went straight to the rice bran.”

This “dude” was a nice buck Marciante had been seeing regularly on his trail cams this year.

“I don’t know where he came from. It’s not a deer I had on camera last year. I don’t know if something happened to his rack this year, but we have no pictures of that deer,” he said. “It was just a unique opportunity to not only kill a double-main-beam buck, but to kill him in full velvet.”

Marciante used a Hoyt Spyder 30 and a Grim Reaper broadhead outfitted with a red Nockturnal nock for the 25-yard broadside shot.

“When I shot him, I knew it was a good shot,” he said. “He turned and ran, and I saw the arrow drop out of him, and he continued out the food plot.”

After a few minutes, Marciante went out to where he hit the deer, and found the top 6-inches of his arrow full of blood. Ten yards away, he found the other piece of the arrow, also totally covered in blood.

“The arrow went in his front shoulder and angled back,” he said. “It hit his heart and both lungs, so he was running dead.”

Marciante went back to the camp to get a buddy, and the two returned about 90 minutes later. After about five minutes of tracking over leaves dampened by an early afternoon thunderstorm, they found the buck about 60 yards from the point of impact.

The non-typical rack includes 9 points with a 13 ¾-inch inside spread, one 7 ½-inch base, one 5 ½-base and about 44 ½-inches of total beam length.

“I nicknamed him ‘Third Beam,’” said Marciante, who has bowhunted for more than 20 years. “That’s the first double-main-beam buck I’ve ever killed.”

Although conditions inside ground blinds can be tough, Marciante thinks they are effective — especially early in the bow season.

“I pay close attention and put the blind in an area where the deer don’t come from. I take my time and brush it in using cane and native brush to where it is totally concealed except for the shooting windows,” he said. “In October, it’s pretty warm in there and it’s not the most glorious of hunts.

"You just have to know that you’re going to basically sit inside a black box. You’re not going to be out in the air. You’ve got to be mentally tough with that.”

And an added benefit of the ground blind is scent containment, he said. 

“If you’re up in a tree stand with these swirling winds, deer can wind you,” Marciante said. “In a blind, it’s still going to get out  and you need to use good scent control, but at least it’s contained except for the shooting windows. Everything else I keep closed up.

“I just find that blind helps conceal your scent.”

Don't forget to enter photos of your bucks in the Nikon Big Buck Photo Contest to be eligible for monthly giveaways and the random drawing for Nikon Monarch binoculars at the end of the contest.