Tony Joseph had seen the big buck he nicknamed 7 O’clock three times on the Acadia Parish property where he hunted, but the elusive deer never gave the bowhunter a clean shot.
“Before the time changed, it was always like 6:45 or 7 o’clock when I would see him, late in the evening, so me and my wife called him 7 O’clock,” said Joseph, 37, of Crowley. “I had seen him, but I could never get on him.”
That all changed on an afternoon hunt on Nov. 4 when Joseph positioned himself 20 feet up in his climbing stand with a narrow deer trail about 20 yards directly behind him.
“I settled down about 5 o’clock and I heard a doe bleat, then I heard it again,” Joseph said. “I heard it a third time, so I grabbed my grunt call and grunted four or five times, and I heard the buck grunt.
“When I grunted, the doe came running to me along the levee to my back, so I stood up on my stand and I turned around facing the deer trail.”
The doe got off the trail as the buck made steady progress towards him. When the buck grunted twice more, the doe took off.
“I heard rustling coming through on the deer trail, but I didn’t see any horns because he had his down because it was so thick in there. I thought it was a big doe,” he said. “When he picked his head up, I said, ‘Oh my God. Look at this.’”
But instead of staying on the trail, the big buck headed straight to the base of Joseph’s tree, seemingly trying to determine where the grunting had come from.
“My book sack was at the base of my tree and he was standing two yards away from my book sack,” Joseph said. “I was in full draw for at least four or five minutes. He was just standing at the base of the tree, looking left and right, left and right. Before he walked off, he grunted one more time.”
Joseph bleated twice, the buck stopped and the Muzzy broadhead found its mark.
“I had to shoot almost straight down. I hit him in the hind shoulder and it went through his ribs on the other side and hit that front shoulder bone and stopped,” he said. “I got about 10 inches of penetration and he broke my arrow off.”
The buck stumbled a couple of times, but made his way back to the trail and got to the levee bordering a crawfish pond before he went out of sight.
“A little bit after that I heard a big old crash and I heard water,” he said.
Joseph eventually made his way to the ground and found the broken arrow, but couldn’t find any blood and started to get worried.
It was getting dark fast, so he headed for home to wait for a friend to come help him track the big buck later that evening.
“I couldn’t sit down,” Joseph said with a laugh. “I was like an ant hauling food, going back and forth, back and forth.”
Eventually, they returned about 8:30 and tried to retrace the buck’s path, and about 65 yards from the tree where he took the shot, his buddy found lots of blood. A few feet further, they found the big buck piled up.
“He said, ‘Oh my God, look at the rack.’ I said, ‘I told you he was big.”
The two men hugged and celebrated, and with good reason: the 10-point buck weighed in at 250 pounds, with a 16 7/8-inch inside spread and bases 4 inches around. He green scored 145 3/4 inches Pope and Young.
“It was just an unbelievable feeling. I was excited. There’s no feeling like that,” Joseph said. “It’s unexplainable.”
And the fact the big buck was almost directly under him for so long made it even more special.
“I was nervous at first, but I had to talk to myself and say, ‘Calm down. Let him move and let him get broadside. He’s got to go left, right or turn around. He’s going to give you a shot.’ So I was patient and it all came together.”
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.