Doug Hackney is a guy who likes to show up on time, but running a little late actually allowed him to take down the buck of a lifetime earlier this month on Tensas National Wildlife Refuge.

“I’m usually the type of person who doesn’t show up anywhere late,” said Hackney, 50, of Crowville. “I’d rather not show up at all if I’m going to show up late.”

Thankfully for Hackney, he decided to head out to the refuge on Friday, Jan. 10 for an afternoon hunt even though he was running a little behind that day.

“I work a swing shift at Ergon Refinery in Vicksburg, Miss., and I work some days and and some nights. I had just come off nights and I was tired,” he said. “I actually slept until about 12 o’clock that day and was piddling around the house.”

Covering for a friend at the refinery with back surgery has cut into his hunting time this year, so Hackney decided to make the trip, even though it was too late to head for his usual spot.

“I didn’t really want to drive way in the back there because by the time I would have gotten out there it would have been after 3:30, so I figured I’d go to the closer spot me and my son had scouted earlier.”

The spot was a wooded palmetto thicket, and Hackney cleared a few palmetto fronds, fashioned a couple of shooting lanes for his Horton Team Realtree crossbow, and before taking a seat directly on the ground, hung a dispenser of Tink’s 69 attractant about 10 yards from his location.

“Back in October, me and my oldest son, Heath, had gone in there and scouted this area,” he said. “We saw some good buck signs in there, good rubs and scrapes.”

The afternoon passed quietly, and a steady misting rain started to fall. But the action picked up about 5:20 p.m.

“I just happened to look out in front of me and this buck was at 30 yards and coming with his head down. All I saw was wide horns. I couldn’t tell points at that particular time,” Hackney said. “I just knew he was wide. He was wider than his ears.

“He had his head to the ground and I assume he was heading to the Tink’s 69.”

The buck made steady progress towards him and turned broadside at about 20 yards, when Hackney fired the crossbow.

“I hit him kind of high, but I knew I hit him when I saw him run off,” he said. “I heard the thud of the broadhead. Whop!”

Then he called Heath, 14, to tell him the news.

“I said, ‘Look, I just shot a big buck. I don’t know how big it is, but I just shot a really big buck,’” Hackney said. “He said, ‘Quit lying, Daddy.’ 

“I said, ‘No son, I’m not lying. It’s the truth. You might have to come over here and help me.’”

Hackney is color blind and has difficulty tracking blood, and he didn’t see any when he ventured out to where the big buck had stood. But he didn’t have to look long to find the deer.

“I eased on around through there where I knew he had run and I looked over there and it just so happened his white belly was shining,” he said. “He had run about 50 yards from where I shot him and fell over, piled up. He was laying there dead.”

The buck was a fine public land 9-point, and green scored 159 7/8 inches Boone and Crockett at Simmon’s in Bastrop. 

His thick rack featured 26-inch main beams, with a 21-inch inside spread. The buck weighed 190 pounds in full rut, and was aged at about 4 ½ years old.

The bolt hit right under his backbone in the middle of his ribcage, and exited towards his right hind quarter.

“When I shot him at 5:20, I actually picked out the wrong pin on my crossbow,” Hackney said. “That’s why I shot him high. I’m lucky I didn’t overshoot him.”

So everything worked out for the best, and a hunt that almost didn’t happen because he was running late turned out to be the trip of a lifetime.

“I went to Plan B, and it worked out exceptionally well,” Hackney said with a chuckle.

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.