When her husband and 20-year-old son decided to go and pull trail cam cards earlier this month on their 1,400-acre lease in Beauregard Parish, Mary Jones figured that would be a perfect opportunity to enjoy an afternoon hunt in her husband’s tripod stand.
“I had three possible places that I could go. Two of them were stands I usually hunt,” said Jones, 46, who works with her husband as a bookkeeper for his logging business. “My reasoning was we were passing right by it. It was the closest, and when I found out he wasn’t going, I was like, ‘Hey, let me sit in it.’”
Despite the fact that he had recently begun seeing daytime trail cam pics of an elusive 10-pointer that he and other men on the lease had been hunting for three years, her husband Ronnie grudgingly agreed to the idea.
“My husband kind of looked at me and said, ‘Uhhhhhhhhh... okay,’” she said with a laugh.
As usual, Ronnie accompanied her to the stand, and handed her rifle to her once she got situated.
“Before I got in the stand, he said, ‘If you happen to see that deer, don’t miss it.’”
For almost 90 minutes, Jones, who lives in Singer, enjoyed the peaceful tranquility of the stand, which overlooks a small clearing beyond a pond in thick woods.
“I was just sitting there praying. That’s what I do when I sit in the stand,” she said. “Not praying to see a deer, but I just pray. I’m a person of faith.”
Just before 5:30, the majestic buck that eluded Ronnie for years appeared from the left tree line and walked into the clearing.
“When I saw him, I was just shocked. Looking at him on the camera was nothing like seeing him when he walked out,” she said. “I think I just looked up and said, ‘Thank you, Lord.’
“His body wasn’t that big, but when I saw those antlers, I was like, ‘Whoa!’”
Then her husband’s parting comments popped into her head, and Jones, a seasoned hunter who said she normally doesn’t get nervous in the stand, started to feel the pressure of the moment.
“I got nervous because I didn’t want to miss. He’s been watching this deer forever, and I didn’t want to wound it or scare it - he might not ever see it again,” she said. “I guess I knew how important it was. All the men on the other leases have gotten pictures of him and everybody wanted him.
“That kind of made me nervous, but I calmed myself and had sense enough to take a good shot.”
The buck was at 60 yards and slightly quartering away from her, but Jones’ .270 found its mark right behind his right shoulder. He ran into the woods about 20 yards, and her husband and son, Tylor, joined her after the shot to locate him.
“They completely forgot about me,” she said with a laugh. “I just followed them through the woods trying to find him, and they’re yipping and yupping when they got to him, and they start taking their pictures with him.
“I said, ‘Uh, can someone take my picture?’”
The 10-pointer’s inside spread was 17 2/8 inches, with main beams 22 2/8 and 22 3/8 inches long. His brow tines measured 3 6/8 and 4 2/8 inches, and the circumference at the bases was more than 5 inches.
He’s definitely a nice buck anywhere, but for Beauregard Parish, he’s an especially large deer that has lots of people talking.
“It’s causing a lot of hoo-hah,” Jones said. “I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal.”
The fact that she, and not her husband, finally took down the 10-pointer has led to some good-natured kidding with friends and area hunters, but she said Ronnie has handled the whole situation well.
“He was very happy for me,” she said. “He knew that he was taking a chance on letting me sit there, but he was just as tickled that I killed him as if he had done it.”
She did say, however, that shooting the big 10-point might have cost her the privilege of being walked to her deer stand by her husband.
“He told me after I killed that buck, I had to put my own self in the stand,” she said with a laugh.
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.