Clayton Crawford endured a pretty rough bow season, so when a big 11-point stepped into his shooting lane last month, he could be forgiven for being a bit edgy as he lined up the crosshairs of his .270.
The shot was only about 40 yards in an oak grove surrounded by thick briars and bushes in St. Tammany Parish, but Nov. 3 was a warm, damp, foggy morning, and visibility wasn’t the best.
And the three deer he missed earlier in the fall with his bow were still fresh in his mind.
“He took off like I missed him when I shot,” said Crawford, 29. “I listened and listened and listened and never heard a crash.
“I was nervous.”
The superintendent for Spartan Building Corporation in Madisonville endured a long 15 minutes atop his Millennium sticks pondering another possible miss before he ventured down and saw massive amounts of blood where the big buck had stood.
“I saw chunks of lung and I knew he wasn’t too far,” Crawford said.
He followed a solid blood trail about 150 yards before he found the buck’s rack tangled up in thick vines, his head not even touching the ground.
“When I saw him, I was one happy fellow,” he said.
As it turns out, the big buck wasn’t even Crawford’s main focus to start the morning.
“I had seen a glimpse of a deer to my far right. It was just after daylight, so my attention was focused over to the right a whole lot.
“And as I was swinging back and forth, left and right, the next thing I know, he popped up right in front of me.”
It was about 7 a.m., and a day that didn’t have the greatest hunting conditions suddenly took a big turn for the better.
“He was walking perfectly broadside from my right to my left,” Crawford said. “He was on a mission. I don’t know where he was heading, but he was going.”
The good news for Crawford was that he had lots of available help to lug the 190-pound buck out of the woods. Of the 10 regular hunters in his group, only three had ventured out on the humid, foggy morning.
“I called ‘em and told ‘em I got one,” Crawford said with a laugh. “I told him it had 6 points and they said, ‘Great. A 6-point.’
“I told them I’d show them pictures when they got there,” he said. “That’s when I told him he had 6 points... on one side.
“There was about five minutes of high-fiving and congratulations going on.”
The deer, a main frame 5 X 5 with a 1-inch kicker, green scored 151 3/8 inches Boone and Crockett, with an incredible 25 inches of air for the inside spread.
“My taxidermist said he has not seen one come out of St. Tammany that big,” Crawford said. “He questioned if I killed it in St. Tammany. I told him I had seven other guys who helped drag this deer out that can vouch for me.”
So on a warm and foggy 70-degree day, he took down his biggest buck to date.
“Everybody said it was too hot,” Crawford said. “But you can’t kill deer if you’re at home in the bed.”
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.