Joey Pender is head football coach at West Ouachita High School in Ouachita Parish. 

Even though his team struggled this year, he joined a group of other coaches with similar records for a trip to the Superdome to watch the state championship games last month.

Now reviewing game film is part of a coach’s job, but what Pender saw on one of his trail cams the day before he left for New Orleans made it hard to concentrate on football. 

“The card had an image of me walking past the camera at 3:05 to get on one of my stands. It also contained a photo recorded at 5:15 of the big buck I was after,” Pender said.  “Of course, I chose to hunt the wrong stand that afternoon.

“I really wanted to enjoy watching the state championship games but it was hard to do, knowing that big buck was probably walking all around my stand.”

As soon as the championship games were over, Pender hurried home, anxious to get on his stand in Bienville Parish where the big buck had shown up on camera. 

“I had already decided I was going to sit in this stand, and only this stand, until the cows come home,” Pender said with a smile.

That next day, Dec. 16, he  placed rice bran on the lane out from his box stand and watched a doe and two small bucks come into the clearing. The bucks, a 5- and a 6-point, were harassing the doe and he could hear all the noise they were making down the lane. 

“I was watching the doe and small bucks when the big one stepped out at 5:10 near my rice bran pile at 150 yards. The buck turned to watch the other three deer at the end of the lane, giving me the sight picture I wanted,” he said. “I put the crosshairs of my Thompson Center 30.06 on him and squeezed the trigger.

“The buck ran only about 30 yards before collapsing.”  

Estimated to weigh around 220 pounds, he sported a symmetrical 8-point rack with a small sticker point. Main beams were 23 inches each, G2s were 13 inches each, the inside spread was 18 ½ inches and the rack carried good mass, which included 4 ½-inch bases. 

The buck was green scored at Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop at 151 inches Boone and Crockett.

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.