Since 2008, 68-year-old George Simolke of Dubberly has seen scores of trail cam photos of a big drop-tine buck on his Webster Parish property.
Because all photos of the buck except one were made at night, Simolke dubbed him Nighttime Roamer.
But the big buck let his taste for rice bran get the best of him in the daylight of Nov. 20, and made the mistake of stepping out for a nibble as Simolke sat in his box stand about 80 yards away. One shot from his 7 mm mag and the days of the old monarch teasing Simolke were over: he dropped in his tracks at the shot.
The rack and body size were something to behold. With 13 scoreable points, which included two almost perfectly matched dropped tines and an inside spread of 21 ½ inches, the buck was green scored at a whopping 187 5/8 inches.
“I have been seeing this buck, or one like him, on my trail camera for the past six years,” said Simolke, a retired machinist who also taught machine shop at an area vo tech school. “Every year, he’d have at least one drop tine; sometimes two. One year it would be on the right antler and the next year on the left. I can’t say if it’s the same buck but that really doesn’t matter; I’m just glad he finally showed himself in daylight.”
Simolke hunts with his brother on two different pieces of land, which required a decision to be made as to where they’d hunt that Wednesday afternoon.
“My brother called me and we talked about it awhile and I told him I wanted to get on my stand here behind the house since I had refreshed the pile of rice bran around noon, not really thinking I’d have a chance at the big buck. My brother agreed and he got on his stand not far from mine,” Simolke said.
He climbed into his stand around 4:30 and hadn’t been sitting long before he started seeing some does. Two of them came up to the pile of rice bran and started eating while he could see two other deer further down the clearing.
“I thought maybe one of the two deer down the lane was a buck but it was getting late and I couldn’t be sure. About that time, the two deer broke and ran and I thought that was strange. When I looked back at the rice bran pile to check on the two does that had been feeding there, they were gone but there the big buck stood with his nose in the bran,” he said.
After the kill shot, Simolke said he and his brother used a tractor to load up the big buck.
“He was too heavy for my brother and me to handle. We got him to the scales and lifted him as high as we could and couldn’t get his back feet off the ground. Even then, the scales read 245 pounds. I’m guessing he may have actually weighed in the 255-260 pound range,” Simolke said.
The rack will be taken to Simmons’ Sporting Goods next week to be entered in that store’s big buck contest.