It’s not too often that a heavy-horned 8-point interrupts a rousing game of smartphone Scrabble, but that’s pretty much what happened to Jim and Christy Hay Saturday morning.

The couple, from Blanchard, was in Jim’s newly-constructed box stand, which overlooks an overgrown pasture of sawgrass and cedar trees bordering a lake and drainage creek bottom in DeSoto Parish.

“The wife and I were playing Scrabble on the phone, which is how we keep from talking in the deer stand,” Hay said with a chuckle. “She noticed him first coming through the brush and saw his horns. He walked out and looked at us, walked over and started hitting a big cedar tree with his horns. I just told her to cover her ears.”

But the buck had come through the middle of the field from the right, which was Christy’s side of the stand. 

“That was another discussion we had: Who’s going to shoot what?” Hay said. “I had told her if it came out from her side of the stand it was her’s, and if it came out from my side of the stand it was mine.

“But when he walked out, she was afraid she would miss him. So she wanted me to take the shot.”

The last obstacle Hay had to overcome before firing his Browning Silver Hunter’s 12-gauge slug was a physical one: He had installed hardware cloth over all the windows to keep from being torn up by mosquitos, with the intention of slicing the screen with a knife when he had to take a shot.

Turns out, the slicing part didn’t happen.

“Well, there was a hole in the screen once I finished shooting,” he said, laughing. “I shot right through it. I put the barrel against it, braced it on the hardware cloth and pulled the trigger.”

The big buck, which was under the branches of the cedar tree, was quartering away from Hay at about 50 yards when he took the shot at 7:05.

“He hit the ground, came out from behind the other side of the cedar tree on a dead run, crossed the pasture and hit the drainage,” Hay said. 

With the help of his stepson, Dakota Nugent, and Christy, they blood-trailed the deer for half a mile through thick brush, honeysuckle and briars and found it piled up on the edge of the lake.

“I couldn’t hardly holler,” Hay said. “I just started shaking again. It was amazing. I’ve hunted since I was a little-bitty kid, and we meat hunt a lot, but I’ve never seen one this big.”

The buck, which weighed 200 pounds plus, hasn’t been green-scored yet, but its rack featured a 17 ½-inch inside spread.

“We’re guessing looking at the pictures I have on the camera of him eating there a week or so before, with the straight back and the low belly, 6 years old is what we’re thinking,” Hay said. “He didn’t have much teeth left to him.

“I don’t mount much - I eat everything. But this one here is going to be mounted.”

As for the Scrabble game, Christy is showing him no mercy.

“She won the game and she’s ahead of me by 100 points right now...” Hay said. “But it was a good weekend.”

Don't forget to enter photos of your bucks in the Nikon Big Buck Photo Contest to be eligible for monthly giveaways and the random drawing for Nikon Monarch binoculars at the end of the contest.

Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.