As he packed up his things and prepared to leave his box stand to attend church services this past Sunday morning, Reggie Walker was minutes — maybe even seconds — from once again missing out on the buck of a lifetime.
The 31-year-old Many hunter had twice seen glimpses of a bruising, heavy-horned deer on his Sabine Parish lease: Once with his son in early October, and then again on Saturday morning, but both times the deer had crossed the high-line he was hunting too far away for a quality shot.
However, considering why he was packing up to leave and where he was heading, perhaps a little divine intervention took place that led the big 13-pointer onto the edge of his food plot in the nick of time.
Walker had been focusing all morning on a ridge to his right that had been cleared along a hillside, where he had seen the buck both times.
But everything changed when a big doe came out to his left shortly before 8:30 a.m.
“I was packing my backpack and the doe came out down the hill,” he said. “She was a really big doe, but she was acting kind of fidgety. I said, ‘I wonder if she heard me, because I bumped the stand with my elbow when I saw her walk out.”
As he watched the doe in his scope, another smaller deer walked out to her right further down the high-line. Then he noticed why the doe was acting a little nervously.
“When I put my head back down to get on the scope, I saw him walk out right behind her,” Walker said. “All I could see was a big-bodied buck with big main beams and a pretty tall tine on one side.
“I knew it was a shooter.”
That’s when things started to get interesting, shooting-wise.
Walker’s first shot from 170 yards with his Browning BAR .270 was high and back, and he hit the buck behind its liver. The deer fell and got back up, so Walker shot it again.
“By this time, he was across the food plot and he was in the road trying to cross the high-line and go back the way he came,” Walker said. “He got up one more time and I put a third round in him. Then he got over to the edge of a tree line by a drain, and I saw one of his two front legs get up on his haunches like he was about to take off again, so I put the fourth round in him.”
By that time, Walker had gotten a better look at the big buck’s impressive head gear and vowed he wasn’t getting away.
“I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m just going to keep shooting until I run out of bullets.”
Fortunately, the fourth shot did the trick, and he called his dad and grandfather to come help him load up as he made his way over to the buck.
“By the time I got to him, my dad and grandpa were pulling up and their windows were down and I picked that rack up out of the grass,” he said. “And that’s when I realized what kind of deer he was.
“I nearly teared up. I was fist pumping in the air. My dad couldn’t get out the truck fast enough.”
Buck fever hits hunters in various ways: For Walker, it came on after he saw the size of the deer and put his hands on the rack.
“We got the tags out on the tailgate, and I was trying to fill out the tags and I had to stop because my hands were shaking so bad I couldn’t write,” he said. “My dad was patting me on the back, saying, ‘Calm down, son. He’s down now. You got him.’
“I said, ‘You don’t understand, I’ve waited a lifetime for something like this.’ It shook me up more after I saw what kind of deer it was because I knew I had killed something that was the buck of a lifetime. For around here, where I live, nobody sees deer like this.”
The big buck, aged at about 5 1/2 years, green scored 153 6/8 inches Boone and Crockett, with 23-inch main beams and a 15 3/4-inch inside spread. The deer, minus lots of blood from the multiple shots, still tipped the scales at 209 pounds.
“I probably let 300 little bucks go in the last three years that I didn’t shoot,” he said. “This one right here is the reason why.”
So despite his best intentions, Walker ended up actually not making it to church services Sunday morning.
“My preacher told me Monday night, ‘You know what the deal is whenever you kill a big buck and you miss church? You have to bring the preacher some deer meat.
“I said, ‘I can definitely make that happen.”
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.