Almost everything that could go wrong Saturday morning did go wrong for Scott Houk.
A pesky, persistent doe busted him in his lock-on stand, his arrow initially fell off the rest and dinked into his bow’s riser as he prepared to shoot a big deer he had pictures of on his trail cam, and he had to battle through a serious case of buck fever to even take the shot.
But in the end, the New Orleans hunter pulled himself together and left the woods with his biggest-ever deer taken with a bow - a solid Bienville Parish 8-pointer that tipped the scales at about 190 pounds.
The day started out promising enough, with north winds and a crisp 45-degree reading on Houk’s truck thermometer when he parked in the woods and got into his stand about 6:30.
“It was one of those days where you know if they’re going to move, they were moving that day,” he said.
But the doe, who busted him around 9 a.m., continually circled the area trying to get to the Big & J feed he put out near the base of the white oak tree where he was hunting a few miles east of Bienville.
About 30 minutes later, when the 8-pointer and a young 6-point came down the trail bordering a pine thicket and started eating the feed where Houk was set up, the doe returned and started blowing with a vengeance.
Houk had to wait 20 agonizing minutes before he could take a shot.
“The two bucks are looking around like, ‘What’s going on?’” Houk said. “Once she started blowing behind me, my heart rate started going up.
“Once the deer get nervous, I get nervous. When she started doing all that, I needed a Valium. When the doe came out, I was actually hyperventilating. I was really starting to worry. I was like, ‘A deer shouldn’t be making you like this. Calm down.’ It was like a solid five minutes and I was finally able to get a grip on things.”
Thankfully the two bucks didn’t heed the doe’s warning, and Houk finally readied himself for the shot with his Mathews Switchback.
“The first time I went to pull back, I couldn’t get the bow all the way back. I went halfway, and I’m like, ‘Oh God.’ So I said, ‘Man, you’ve got to calm down.’ I closed my eyes, and I said, ‘This what you’re going to do. You’re going to count, you’re going to take two deep breaths, you’re going to let it out, you’re going to open your eyes and you’re going to draw back,” Houk said. “And that’s what I did.”
But as he stood and drew back to take the shot, the 6-pointer looked up and saw him and Houk realized only then a branch was in his way.
Unable to fully stand, he had a decision to make.
“It’s not the perfect angle, but I thought I could make it work,” said Houk, noting the two bucks were less than 10 yards from the base of his tree. “It’s a little higher than I wanted, but I knew it was now or never. If I try to stand the 6 inches higher I need to go, this deer is going to bust me and it’s going to be all over.
“So right when I went to pull the trigger, I went up just a smidgen more and I let the arrow go. When it hit that deer, it sounded like a big thwack. I knew I hit it good.”
His Easton Axis arrow with a Slick Trick Razortrick broadhead found the mark, and the big buck only made it about 50 yards into the woods.
The 8-pointer had a 17-inch spread with 4-inch circumferences at the bases, and Houk estimated the buck’s green score at about 110 inches.
“It was really niece to come up with a plan, wait for the right wind and then everything fell into place,” Houk said. “God was just smiling down on me that day, especially when the doe started blowing. I just knew the whole gig was up then...
“But that smile will be on my face a long time.”
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.