Mike Centanni doesn’t shoot a whole lot of deer on the family property he hunts in Concordia Parish, but the monster buck he took down on Jan. 18 more than makes up for all the ones he’s let walk over the years.
The 60-year-old from Monterey shot a 225-pound, 16-pointer at 200 yards that green scored a whopping 182 2/8 inches Boone and Crockett.
“I’ve only shot five bucks in 11 years on this place, and three of them were cull bucks,” said Centanni, 60, of Monterey. “But I’ve probably seen a hundred bucks so far this year, 50 for sure. I’ve seen a ton.
“We just don’t shoot ‘em unless they’re really big.”
The club was featured in a 2005 article in Louisiana Sportsman magazine that detailed how aggressively they planned on growing their bucks. And this season, the track record of the 1,500-acre parcel near Horseshoe Lake speaks for itself.
A grand total of three bucks taken: a 140-class 10-pointer, a 160-class 9-pointer and Centanni’s 180-class brute, which had an 18 7/8-inch inside spread and bases that measured 6 2/8 and 6 4/8 inches.
“That’s pretty impressive for one piece of ground,” said Centanni, who retired from Shell Oil Company after 36 years. “We don’t shoot very many deer at all. If we shoot five bucks in a season, we shoot plenty.
“We all pitch in, we do what we need to do, we cut the roads and we plant good stuff. We just try to take care of ‘em. We do more deer feeding and deer watching than we do deer shooting.”
Derrick Savage, 26, of Lismore, oversees the family property, and shot the other two big bucks this season.
“We want to shoot at least 4-year-old deer here, and sometimes I let them go, too,” he said with a laugh. “We plant some spring stuff and plant some in the fall, and it’s pretty good.
“It’s turned out pretty awesome.”
Centanni had a cold on the 18th, and opted to go into a box stand overlooking an old oilfield road that morning.
“I was coughing and hacking and just feeling bad, and I let my wife go in the woods on the ladder stand where I really wanted to go,” he said. “As fate would have it, that’s where the deer showed up.”
About 7:30, a doe busted out and ran down the road about 200 yards away from his box stand before veering back into the woods.
“She was in a dead flat-out run,” Centanni said. “I knew there was a buck behind her and I was hoping it was a good one. He came out and did the same thing: he ran straight at me, stopped where the doe had turned, turned broadside and gave me just the chance of a lifetime.”
He fired his custom made Winchester 7 mm, and the big buck fell where he stood.
Despite the aggressive herd management practices on the property, Centanni said he never dreamed he’d have the chance to take down a 180-class buck, and has been humbled by the experience.
“Honestly, when I walked up to that deer I was 25 yards away when I realized it was him because he had double split brow tines,” Centanni said. “I just put my stuff on the ground and fell on my knees and thanked the good Lord that I was raised to be in the woods, raised to hunt and appreciate the outdoors.
“Every deer hunter ought to have the opportunity to kill a deer like that. It’s almost like a life-changing type thing.”
Savage said the 1,500 acres is composed of about 1,200 acres of hardwoods, along with 300 acres of Wetlands Reserve Program habitat, and only about 700 acres is actively hunted.
“Half of it we don’t even hunt,” Centanni said. “We keep that as a refuge for the deer.”
Savage said he thought he might have had a chance at the monster buck late last fall, but was happy Centanni finally took him down.
“I’m just glad Mike got him. That’s a gigantic son of a gun,” Savage said. “That’s a monster deer there, definitely the biggest taken out here.
“If we could grow them every couple of years, that would be awesome.”
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.