Kyle Pleasant had hunted steadily in November for a majestic, wide-racked buck that he had been tracking on his trail cameras, but couldn’t make it out to his stand one morning because he had to bring his son to school.
As fate would have it, a quick review of memory cards revealed that was the day the 13-pointer showed up in his shooting lane about 8:30 a.m. on his family’s 2,800-acre lease near Marthaville in western Natchitoches Parish.
“I was just sick,” the 28-year-old said. “I bet you I went every single day for five days before that, and the one day I didn’t go was when he showed up.”
Pleasant, who works with his family’s construction business, had almost obsessively tracked the deer, checking cameras to establish his feeding patterns and hunting absolutely every chance he could get.
“Around here, between my parents and my wife, they said, ‘I think you’re taking this buck too far,’” he said with a laugh. “At one point, my wife said, ‘It’s either me or the deer.’
“I said just give me one or two more days.’”
About a week after he saw the big buck on the trail cam in his shooting lane, he and his wife Meredith were in a box stand one afternoon when a rifle shot on adjacent property got their attention.
“I was worried that the lease that butted up to us might have got him,” he said. “When I heard that shot go off, I almost fell out my stand it was so loud. I just knew they had seen him because they’ve never hunted there before and all of a sudden there were lots of people hunting close to me.”
After that shot, weeks went by without the 13-pointer appearing on camera, and Pleasant was almost ready to give up the hunt.
“I was sitting at home on the couch, and my wife said, ‘I really think that deer’s still here,’ then I started asking around at all the hunting stores and they said that they hadn’t heard of any big deer that had been killed.
“The next morning, she said, ‘I think you need to go look again.’”
So Pleasant trekked for miles into the woods, eventually found some big rubs and saw a set of tracks that gave him hope that the big buck was still alive. He put out some corn and a camera in the area, and sure enough, the wily old deer was still alive and kicking.
“Probably a day later, I saw him walking by on camera,” he said.
He decided to hunt that area with a ground blind about 100 feet from where the buck was photographed eating corn, and after about 20 hunts, the big buck finally made an early morning appearance on the eve of Christmas Eve.
He and Meredith were in the pop-up blind well before 6 the morning of Dec. 23, and thought they saw him with a doe shortly after sunrise. But Pleasant wasn’t certain it was the 13-pointer he was after, and adjusted his position in the seat to get a better view.
“When I slid left, he heard it,” he said. “I saw him in the binoculars, slid over and went to throw up my gun, and he wasn’t there anymore.”
Pleasant was devastated at his error, but the elusive buck made one last mistake, too.
Pleasant’s dad had scattered corn along the edge of the woods near that clearing, and the big buck stopped after running away only about 20 yards to nibble on what was to be his last meal.
“I had told my dad, ‘Why would you throw corn in the wood line where I can barely even see him?’ But he said, ‘I’m telling you, that’s a safe spot. He’ll like that.’
“God gave me a second chance, because when I looked up all mad at myself, he was right there in the wood line.”
Pleasant lined up the cross hairs of his .30-06 high on the buck’s right shoulder at about 100 yards, and saw him buckle on impact. He and Meredith found him 10 yards from the spot on the edge of a cutover.
The buck sported an incredibly wide, thick rack, with a jaw-dropping 27 1/2-inch inside spread and a big 8-inch drop tine on his right side. Circumference at the bases was 5 ½ inches, and the buck, estimated at 250 pounds, green scored 185 inches non-typical Boone and Crockett.
Pleasant and his wife were happy to finally take down the buck that had almost become an obsession, but he said it was a little bittersweet, too.
“We watched him for so long. It was almost sad not to see him anymore,” Pleasant said. “I felt like we got to know him, because I could tell what he like and what he didn’t. What he’d eat and what he didn’t eat. We kept up with him so long, I was kind of speechless to finally get him.
“It was all well worth it.”
And to top off an already eventful day, Pleasant ran into Mountain Man from Duck Dynasty on his way back from getting the big buck scored in Monroe.
"After we met at the Subway, he asked if we could take a picture together with it," Pleasant said. "It was neat to meet him. He's identical in person to his character on the show. We talked for 20 minutes and ended up swapping a hunting trip."
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.