When Will Burton heard some noise in the brush on the afternoon of Dec. 12, he assumed it was a group of hogs running in the thicket on the edge of two green food plots he was hunting near Lake Ophelia in Avoyelles Parish.
His buddy, Derik Laborde, had shot a hog about 10 minutes earlier, and Burton was preparing himself for a shot at some pork of his own.
“I figured with all the noise it was hogs, so I was ready to shoot a hog,” said Burton, 29, an offshore lead production operator. “But then three deer walked out.”
An 8-pointer tentatively stepped out into the food plot, but it was the big-bodied buck behind him that got Burton’s attention.
“The 8-pointer started eating the grass, but the one I killed knew something was up. He was looking around,” Burton said. “He had a hard time going through the woods. There was some real low brush, some old scrubby oaks, and he had a hard time pushing his head through all that brush.”
Burton said he didn’t really ever get a good look at the third buck.
“After I saw that big rack, I didn’t even look at the third one, to tell you the truth,” he said with a laugh.
Finally, the big 15-point made it into the food plot, and Burton’s .30-30 found the mark from about 40 yards. At least, he thought it did.
“He made a high jump in the air and hopped into the woods. I stayed quiet and tried to listen for a crash, and I didn’t hear anything,” he said. “So I waited about 15 minutes and it was dark by then.
“We didn’t see any hair, blood, nothing in the food plot,” Burton said. “I was like, ‘Man, there’s no way I could’ve missed being that close.’ So we took off in the general direction that he went after I shot him.”
Thirty yards into the woods, he found a blood trail that he followed for another 200 yards through thick briars that eventually led to the big buck.
“We found him, and then having to drag him back was tough,” Burton said. “It was drag and then wait, drag and wait until we made it back to the food plot.”
He and Laborde had a golf cart there, but that wasn’t big enough for the buck.
“We went back to the camp and got the front-end loader and picked him up and hauled him back in,” he said. “I was thinking he was 215 or so, but I couldn’t believe the scale when he hit 265.”
The buck, aged at 6 ½ years old, green scored 149 3/8 Boone and Crockett, with an inside spread of 16 3/4 inches. One point was broken off, but his bases were thick, with one measuring 6 ¼ inches around, the other pulling the tape to 6 ½ inches.
Easily his biggest buck so far, it wasn’t a bad day for Burton on a hunt that almost didn’t even happen that day.
“We were originally planning to go up there Friday afternoon, but we were both available to make it on Thursday,” he said. “So we made it in enough time to make an evening hunt.”
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.