Chad Bordes had never shot a wall-hanger before, but he knew the first week of January was typically prime time to shoot a nice buck during the rut on 1,200 acres he hunts in Folsom.

“Every year around January 2nd is when a decent buck is taken there,” said Bordes, 29, a captain with the St. Tammany Parish Fire Department. “It seems to be the first week of January every single year, so I tried to get out there to see what’s going on.”

And right on time, about 8:40 Saturday morning, Jan. 4, a huge buck charged out of a dead-end thicket bordering the Tchefuncte River onto an old power line right-of-way where Bordes was hunting.

“I heard a massive crash and that thing came launching out of that thicket heading straight towards me,” said Bordes, who was positioned about 100 yards away in a ladder stand. “When I heard the crash, I grabbed my gun and put it on my shoulder. 

“When he launched out of those woods he came full speed, so he probably covered 30 yards before I was able to find him in my scope and shoot him, but it was very, very quick. He came out like a raging bull, he really did.”

In the past, Bordes, from Mandeville, said he’s missed some deer that have turned off the 15-foot-wide right-of-way while he waited for the perfect shot. 

But this time, he quickly lined him up in the cross hairs of his .30-06 and dropped the buck about 70 yards from his stand. 

“Before I let him get off to either side, I caught him right in the neck coming towards me,” Bordes said. “After the shot, I was ecstatic. The first thing I saw were brow tines that looked like they had barnacles all over them. It was like something you see in a magazine, or in Louisiana Sportsman from up in north Louisiana.

“I couldn’t even talk.”

And in a supreme act of self-restraint, Bordes watched the buck in his scope a full 35 minutes before going down to check him out. 

“I didn’t take the cross hairs off of him,” he said with a laugh. “Every time he moved, I debated putting another one in him, but I didn’t, thank God.”

The 14-pointer, especially big for St. Tammany Parish, was aged at 4 ½ years old and weighed 223 pounds. It was green scored by three different taxidermists, all of whom were a bit surprised by the 180-inch Boone and Crockett green score.

“When Woody Hunt measured it, he put down his glasses and told my friend, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but this a 180 deer,’” Bordes said. “He said, ‘I must have done something wrong, let me do it again,’ and Woody re-scored it and came up with 179 3/4.”

The heavy mass at the top of the rack and they symmetrical points are why the big buck consistently scored right at 180, and could become the new record for typical whitetail in St. Tammany Parish, Bordes said.

“I would have been happy with a regular old buck to be able to put on the wall,” he said. “I really would have been, and I got very lucky that day I guess.”

Downing the monster not only got Bordes his long-awaited wall-hanger, but it also put to rest venison requests from his dad David, who taught Chad the ins-and-outs of deer hunting years ago.

“I had told him, 'Dad, I’m not shooting until I get a wall-mounter. That will be my motivation. I know you want some meat and everything, and I’ll try to get you some, but I’m not going to get any until I get a wall-mounter.'

“And I finally ended up grabbing one.”

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.