As we all know, even the best laid plans don’t usually work the way we draw them up on the chalkboard.
But that wasn’t the case for Jimmy White and his son-in-law Will Mabry on Jan. 12 in St. Joe - they devised a scheme, executed it to perfection and took down a wily old non-typical 199-inch Tensas Parish monster in the process.
“This wasn’t a normal deer. We knew he wasn’t just going to walk out in the open,” said White, 65, who farms 6,500 acres of corn, soybean and cotton. “The plan was that Will was going to get in the lock-on stand right above me and rattle and blow a grunt call.”
But things got off to a shaky start when neither man could find his rattling horns, a key part of the plan.
“So we went up to my shop and I had some sheds up there,” White said with a laugh. “We tied ‘em together with decoy string and took them - that’s what he used for some rattling horns.
“They worked good, though. They were the real deal.”
The men got to their stands on White's farm about 3:30 that afternoon, with a southwest wind blowing and temperatures in the mid-50s. They were overlooking 15-year-old Conservation Reserve Program growth, right along an edge of 1-year-old CRP.
White had brought along his Browning .270 and his bow in case the big deer happened to come in close, and it wasn’t long before Will’s grunting and rattling yielded results.
A nice 8-point came out to check on things early on, and about 4:30 they noticed does moving out of the 15-year-old CRP about 300 yards out. A 5-point cull buck that White estimated to weigh about 230 pounds started ambling towards them, and he was prepared to take him with his bow if he got close enough.
That was when the monster 12-point first peaked from the tall CRP.
“He was looking for rattling horns, and within five seconds, he turned around and went back in the thick stuff,” White said.
But the 5-pointer kept coming his way, and eventually made it to about 35 yards from the stand when the 12-point made his final appearance about 10 minutes after first showing himself.
“Will said, ‘Look, he’s come out again. Here, take the rifle and shoot him,’” White said.
“So I had the rifle in my hands now. He rattled again and the buck comes out, and he turns like he’s going to come to us and all of a sudden he turns around like he’s going to go back in.”
At that point, White told his son-in-law to give the antlers a real workout.
“I told Will, ‘Rattle real loud, as loud as you can.’ He did, and the buck turned broadside and looked straight down there where we were, and I pulled the trigger.
“It didn’t last long.”
At about 250 yards, the Browning .270 hit the mark and the bullet hit the buck squarely right behind his shoulder. He crumpled after running only about 30 yards, and the plan had worked just like the two men drew it up.
“We were shouting and hollering and high-fiving,” said White, who attempted to get down from the stand while still strapped into his harness and almost forgot his bow in the tree amidst the excitement. “We just kind of went crazy there for a few minutes.
“But this time the plan we put together worked like a charm. You might do that 20 times and never make it work. But it worked that time.”
The free-roaming non-typical 12-point, estimated to be 6 ½- to 7 ½-years old, sported thickly palmated main beams 24- and 25-inches long. His inside spread was 19 7/8 inches, and he green scored 199 3/8 inches Boone and Crockett.
White said he weighed 290 on the button, without any fat.
“He looked like a bull in his head and neck. He didn’t hardly look like he had a neck at all,” White said. “Everything was big right up to the base of his head. I thought he had some fat on him, but he didn’t have any left.
“If we would have killed him in November, he would have gone 300-plus no doubt,” White said. “It was all just meat.”
The 12-pointer’s neck was skinned and scarred, and his left ear flopped down beside his face because of broken cartilage. White said he saw two different 8-points whose antlers had been broken off even with the tops of their heads, and he figures the big buck was a veteran of lots of battles for does.
“This guy here, he was definitely the bull of the woods,” he said.
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.