Chris Courville enjoyed a late season bow hunt this past weekend at the Tensas National Wildlife Refuge he won’t soon forget for a couple of reasons: one for how he lost a nice buck, and the other for the monster he ended up taking home.
On Friday, Jan. 24, he arrowed a nice 8-point, only to lose it to a black bear that followed the same blood trail he and his friends did leading to the buck.
“We blood trailed him until we realized we weren’t the only ones interested in the deer. Here came a black bear, nose to the ground right behind us on the same blood trail,” said Courville, of DeRidder, who had already arrowed five deer during this season.
He and his friends decided it best not to challenge the bear for the buck, so they backed out and left the bruin to enjoy a fresh venison dinner.
Two days later, on Jan. 26, Courville scarcely had time to get settled in his climbing stand before a massive buck followed a doe to within 20 yards of him.
Fortunately, he gathered his wits enough to put an arrow in the 225-pound brute with eye-popping head gear, and this time a bear didn’t steal his kill.
That Sunday morning, he was settling into his stand hauling his bow from the ground when he saw action: a doe came running out of the CRP field out in front of him followed by a big buck.
“I had just hauled my bow up when the buck stopped 25 yards from me. I drew on him but realized the clip holding the haul line was still clipped to my bow and I couldn’t pull it all the way back,” he said. “I had to release, unclip the line and draw again. The buck stopped broadside 20 yards away and I released my arrow.
“He ran 25 yards and collapsed. I mean, I was in the stand hardly 5 minutes when this all happened. I didn’t even have time to get cold.”
Courville sat and watched the buck for some 20 minutes to be sure he was down for keeps, then got down and walked over to claim his prize.
“What I saw when I walked up to him was as impressive as he was when I first saw him behind the doe,” he said. “He was huge.”
The buck had 18 scoreable points on a heavily palmated rack with four points broken off, and it featured a drop tine on one side with double main beams on the other. The inside spread was 17 inches, and the deer was estimated to be 5 ½ years old.
He took the buck to Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop only to find the store closed for the day. Returning home, he took the buck to the area Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries office the following morning to learn that the biologists who usually score deer were out.
“Some other biologists looked at the rack and estimated it would push 200 inches. I’m anxious to find out what the score is because I want to see how it stacks up with other nontypical archery bucks in the record book,” Courville said.
The state record nontypical bow-killed buck was taken by Vicki Husted in 2010 and scored 227 6/8 inches.
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.