You can earn bonus points nowadays in lots of different ways: by using credit cards, signing up for frequent flyer programs or even by completing extra work before that tough exam.

Ed Williams earned his bonus points in a deer stand in West Feliciana Parish during an afternoon hunt on Dec. 19, when the nice 8-pointer he thought he shot turned into a stud 11-point that green scored 165 5/8 inches Boone and Crockett.

“I was told there were two big 8s hanging in that area, so I was waiting for an 8(-pointer),” said Williams, 48, of Golden Meadow.  “All I saw was horns when he was staring straight at me.

“I thought it was an 8. I just took for granted it was a big 8 - I couldn’t count points.”

Williams was hunting in a box stand overlooking a ravine that headed down to a food plot surrounded by thick woods. It was a windy, warm, muggy day, but action picked up when he heard movement near his stand in thick cover around 5 p.m. 

“I heard something to my left coming through there, so I was watching on my left. It sounded like a cow coming through the trees, but there’s no cows in the area, so I took for granted it was a deer,” he said. 

Williams worked his grunt call, but never saw what was responsible for all the noise near the stand after he took a quick glance back out towards the feeder at the far edge of the food plot.

“I had turned to my left waiting for whatever was coming to come out, then when I turned back he was there staring at me. Like he just appeared all of a sudden. I had no inkling that he was coming out, nothing,” said Williams, who thought one of those big 8-pointers had finally appeared. “I looked and he was there staring at me.”

The biggest deer he had ever killed was a small 6-pointer, and buck fever kicked in when the deer finally turned broadside at about 140 yards as he readied his .30-06.

“Once I got the crosshairs on him, I was shaking so bad I could barely catch my breath,” he said. “When I squeezed, I saw him keel over and that was it.”

Still thinking he had taken down a big 8-pointer, he called his son on his cellphone and got the surprise of his life as he made his way out to the deer.

“I called my son right away, and said ‘I got a big 8! I got a big 8!’  he said. “Then I started walking to him because it was getting kind of late, and I started counting.

“I saw 6 on one side. And I’m on the phone with my son, saying ‘He’s got six on one side!’ Then I saw five on the other.”

The big 11-pointer weighed 215 pounds, with an inside spread of 18 inches and a rack of heavy mass all the way to the tips.

“That’s my first real wall-hanger,” said Williams, who works for C-Logistics out of Port Fourchon, and also guides fishing trips part-time. “The little 6-point on there now is going to be moving out. This one’s going in my game room, right between my two 6-pound bass.”

Don't forget to enter photos of your bucks in the Nikon Big Buck Photo Contest to be eligible for monthly giveaways and the random drawing for Nikon Monarch binoculars at the end of the contest.

Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.