When Downsville’s Doug McGehee purchased a 100-acre tract a mile from his Union Parish home, his plan was to convert the property into a place he could eventually sit in a deer stand and enjoy some quality time with his seven grandchildren.
“I built the stand a full 6 X 6 feet to have room for me and a grandchild or two,” McGehee said.
On Saturday, Nov. 15, with the temperature hovering in the mid-20s, McGehee was hunting the roomy box stand alone when he put the pop on a big 10-point buck that rough-scored 142 inches.
McGehee was comfortable in the stand on the cold morning thanks to his Little Buddy heater, and was enjoying watching a couple of does with their yearlings nibbling on corn and rice bran.
“As I watched the morning come alive and was observing the deer at the feed, I happened to look up 400 yards or so past them and saw the head and antlers of what looked like a decent buck sticking out of the brush. He was looking toward the does and he stood motionless for at least five minutes. The does hadn’t seen him yet,” McGehee said.
Finally, the buck walked out into the lane and started trotting toward the does. At that point, McGehee could tell the buck was a shooter, one he estimated to be a big heavy-antlered 8-point.
“I remember my uncle, ‘Big Boy’ Hamilton, once telling me that when you stop getting excited when a big one steps out, it’s time to put away your deer rifle and do something else. I can assure you I’m going to keep mine around for a while longer because my heart started pounding as that buck just stood there for another five minutes,” he said.
The buck trotted up a little closer to within about 325 yards when the does saw him and started walking toward him.
“I shoot a 7mm mag and feel comfortable on taking a long shot but the buck was facing toward me and I wasn’t about to risk a shot from that distance and at that angle. He finally turned almost broadside and I put the bullet where it needed to go. My gun is sighted in at 1 ½ inches high at 100 yards, so I held a couple inches high and squeezed the trigger. He kicked and bolted and ran into the woods,” McGehee said. “I felt like I’d made a good shot on the buck.”
McGehee’s son, Dusty, had been pursuing a big buck on the property with his bow that was nicknamed "The Stud.” McGehee’s first act after shooting the buck was to call his son in Mississippi to tell him he thought he’d shot a big 8-point.
“I got down and went to where the buck was standing when I shot. There was no blood or anything indicating I’d hit the deer but I felt like I did because of the way he kicked when I shot.
“There was a dim little trail leading toward a heavy thicket so I walked along it hoping I’d find some sign. There, 25 yards up the trail lay my buck, right in the middle of the trail. When I saw 10 points, I knew this was the one Dusty had been after. As happy as I was, I was a little downhearted because I’d shot his buck,” McGehee said.
But Dusty said he was proud of his dad and offered the following comments about the big buck.
“I could not be happier,” Dusty said. “He is the most unselfish person I know. He even admitted to me, ‘Had I known that was him, I probably would've let him go so you could get him.’ I quickly told him he was crazy. He just turned 62 and got his biggest buck of his life.
“He has spent 25-plus years helping me kill deer. He was way overdue to get one for himself. The only thing I regret is I wasn't there to help him.”
The 10-point stud had a 17-inch inside spread and rough-scored 142 inches Boone and Crockett.
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.