Chris Evans has had a rough year, dealing with a heart condition that dictates surgery later this year. But throughout the summer, the Zachary hunter has been watching a really nice buck develop.
And after sending an arrow through the 140-class 11-point Friday, the buck will now join another monster Evans killed in 2011. Both deer were killed on the same property.
The latest kill came after Evans practiced the patience of Job.
“We first saw him in January 2013, and during the 2013 season I saw him almost every day and didn’t shoot him,” the hunter explained. “I was pretty sure he was a 3-year-old, and we wanted to let him get another year to see if he would develop some more.”
After the close of that hunting season last January, Evans moved a gravity corn feeder into the food plot the quality buck frequented “to put some body weight on” the deer, and then replaced the corn with protein.
“I fed him protein for the entire year,” Evans said.
And throughout the spring and summer, the hunter’s game cameras documented the deer’s development.
“I’ve got pictures of him for from the day his antlers started growing and every week thereafter,” Evans said.
It looked like taking the buck when the season opened would be a no-brainer, although Evans didn’t want to kill it until the deer shed its velvet.
“I didn’t want to kill it in velvet,” he said. “That’s just my preference.”
But it looked like the plan was going to get changed, with loggers moving through the property toward the deer’s favored food plot.
“Right now, loggers are in the last spot before getting to my area,” Evans said.
The deer still carried its velvet the week before the Oct. 1 season opener, so Evans wasn’t sure what he’d do.
And then on Oct. 1 he checked his camera and found a photo of the buck with no velvet.
“He lost his velvet overnight,” Evans said. “I was going to make a hunt. I put all my gear on, and then I realized I hadn’t even bought a license.”
So he sat out that day. And the next.
The delay was probably a good thing, since the wind wasn’t right until that Friday morning.
“I really needed a north wind,” Evans said. “There was no way they would pick me up on a north wind.”
So about 5:30 p.m. he climbed into his lock-on tucked a few yards inside the woods and overlooking the food plot. A pile of rice bran was about 20 yards to his right, and the corn feeder was about 25 yards out in the green patch.
By 6:30 p.m., the feeder had attracted about 10 deer, including five young bucks. Ten minutes later, the buck stepped into the food plot and went right to the corn feeder. Evans prepared his bow, and waited for a shot.
“He turned broadside three or four times, but the legs of the feeder were in the way,” he said.
Finally, the deer was in the open, standing broadside. Evans drew his bow — and the buck turned facing the hunter’s stand.
“So I had to sit there and wait some more drawn back,” he said. “ … I couldn’t let off because they had so many deer around me.”
The big buck eventually made a bit of a turn, still quartering toward the hunter but providing at least a small window.
“Something told me to take the shot,” Evans said.
He loosed the arrow, and watched the deer make a quick move.
“As the arrow was in flight, he actually turned broadside,” Evans said. “The arrow made a perfect pass-through.”
The buck took off, but the concealed and excited hunter could tell he had connected well.
“He ran out across the food plot. He was running like they get when they’re hit, all goofy and stuff,” Evans said. “He went into the woods, and I could hear him flopping around.”
As the hunter eased out of his stand and headed out of the woods to let the deer bleed out, he reflected on the year and the kill.
“I’m telling you: There was divine intervention,” Evans said. “God had something to do with this.”
The buck was found shortly by a tracking dog brought to the scene by buddy Daryl Pennington. It had run only 75 yards before dying.
The 190-pound deer carried a main-frame 10-point rack, with an extra scorable sticker off the back of the right side. Inside spread measured 18 inches. The rack’s bases were 5 inches in circumference.
“The main beams just don’t carry that mass out,” Evans said.
The roughly 4-year-old buck still taped it out at about 150 inches Pope & Young, and Evans estimates it will net in the mid-140s.
“It’s just a solid 10-point,” Evans said. “If I hadn’t killed that other one, I’d think I’d killed a monster.”