Zwolle’s Keith Brown leases a small 80-acre tract in Sabine Parish in a hardwood bottom surrounded by a 1,700-acre pine plantation. While deer utilize the pines for seclusion, they venture into the hardwoods late in the day to feed. 

On Nov. 1, a 12-point buck Brown had seen in trail cam photos and patterned all season left the pines for the hardwoods late in the afternoon and found itself in the crosshairs of his 7 mm mag.

“I left my job as a trucking superintendent in Mansfield early that afternoon around 3:30 and was in my box stand just after 4. The stand is situated along a pipeline that runs through my lease. Although the deer feed on acorns in the hardwoods, I had scattered corn along the right of way to attract does that I hoped would lure this buck in,” he said.

Earlier in the season, he tagged two does with his .444, so with meat in the freezer, he was no longer interested in taking a doe. He said he formerly dog-hunted with some guys who had the motto “If it’s brown, it’s down,” but after getting his venison, he targets only mature bucks he knows utilize the area.

“Soon after I got on the stand, some does and yearlings came out on the line and were eating corn. Since I was not ‘meat- hunting, I just watched them. However, I noticed that they kept looking back toward the thicket so I put my gun in the window facing that direction.

“It started to get late and I knew I didn’t have much time left to hunt that day. Then I heard some wood ducks get up and fly out of a slough on my right and I wondered if something had spooked them. Suddenly a big doe burst from the pine thicket and shot across the pipeline. I repositioned my gun to the window facing the pipeline when the big buck stuck his head out of the thicket.” 

The buck stood for a few seconds looking toward the stand and then began trotting across the lane following the doe. 

“Ordinarily, I’ll grunt or whistle at a buck to stop him, but I guess I was too excited to actually see the buck I’d been after all season trotting along at 80 yards. I got him in the crosshairs and squeezed the trigger just before he got into the woods,” he said.

After waiting for a few minutes, Brown climbed down and went to the spot where the deer was when he shot. He found evidence of a hit, and located the big buck only 20 yards away. The buck was a main frame 10-point with two sticker points. The inside spread measured 16 ¾ inches, with main beams more than 20 inches each. Bases were 5 ¼ inches each, and the mass carried over the length of the rack.

“I took him to a taxidermist who scored him for me at 151 7/8. The deer weighed 197 pounds and was probably 5 ½ years old.

“I used to dog hunt but I don’t do that anymore. I switched to still hunting only when I realized the potential this area has to produce some good deer,if they’re not pressured,” he said.  “I’ve passed up some small bucks this year, and I’m really glad I waited for this big old buck to come along.” 

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.

Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.