Luck finally ran out on a wily LaSalle Parish 10-point called ‘Lucky Charm,’ but the deer still managed to live up to his nickname - even when he died.
The big buck had been on the hit list at a private lease near Summerville where K.C. Toler hunts ever since her uncle, Brian Andrews, shot the then-8-point deer in his front left leg on Oct. 31, 2013.
The buck ran off and was never recovered.
“He shot him with a .280 and I guess he didn’t aim high enough and it hit him right there in that joint of his leg. We didn’t know if he’d make it through the snowy winter we had, but he started showing up on cameras again this spring,” said Toler, a 19-year-old sophomore at Louisiana College majoring in math education. “So he was good to go, and we knew he’d made it.”
Lucky Charm was the big buck’s name ever since, and it worked - until Toler got her crack at the deer late Monday afternoon.
She got in the box stand positioned between two power lines about 4 p.m., and didn’t see much on the two lanes she was watching until around 4:30 when a doe and a small buck appeared more than 300 yards away.
“When I saw the younger buck, I actually got the grunt call out to see if I could get him to come closer,” said Toler, who lives in Jena and also serves as the assistant softball coach at Jena High School. “He looked toward me but he didn’t pay much attention to it.
“And then they both went into the woods, and that’s when the big one stepped out.”
The big one was Lucky Charm, and Toler didn’t give him a second chance this time.
“He came out that left side and I saw something move. I put my gun up because it was starting to get dark and I saw his rack, but he was behind a bush,” she said. “I calmed myself down and I clicked the safety off and I was just waiting for him to step out.
“Once he gave me a good shot, that’s when I shot him. He came out and looked right at me.”
From the time she scoped him at 315 yards until she fired her H&R .25-06 was less than a minute.
“It felt like an eternity, but it was probably 30 or 45 seconds,” she said. “I just put it right behind his shoulder. When I picked my head up, I was like, ‘Wow! That just happened.’ Then the adrenaline set in and I started shaking.”
Her dad, Graig, also was hunting that afternoon on a nearby stand, and he joined his daughter as they looked for blood or hair where the big buck had stood. But light was fading fast, making the task even more difficult.
“That’s the thing. I couldn’t tell exactly where he was standing. I knew he was behind a tree and almost to the end of the lane, but it was hard to figure out which one he was standing behind,” she said. “He was standing in tall grass, so we couldn’t find tracks or anything. We had no idea which way he went.”
With no blood, no hair and no more light, they headed home not knowing if Lucky Charm had gotten lucky one more time.
“I didn’t really ever get upset about it. I never felt bad about the shot, even when we didn’t find blood,” she said. “I was thinking maybe I should have let him get closer for a better shot, but who knows if you’re ever going to see him again.”
Toler headed to class at Louisiana College on Tuesday morning, and her dad returned to the lane to search once more.
“I just went to school and it wasn’t even heavy on my mind,” she said. “I was ready to go to school and get the day over with so I could go out there and hunt again.
“He texted me while I was in class and said he didn’t find anything.”
That’s when the legend of Lucky Charm took an interesting twist - and a lucky turn for the hunter this time.
Tuesday afternoon, while Toler and her dad were in the same stand where she had taken the shot on Monday, she received a call on her cellphone from a friend of the family in a neighboring stand asking her if she had recently shot Lucky Charm.
It turns out the big deer had made its way through the woods and collapsed right smack in the middle of a shooting lane next to a pile of rice bran less than 200 yards from where Toler popped him the evening before.
“He was right there under my nose and I never knew it. That’s the crazy thing,” she said. “My bullet hit and went though both shoulders and got some heart, and it still managed to run off. They’re just tough animals.”
The big buck green-scored 131 6/8 inches Boone and Crockett, with a 14 ¼-inch inside spread and a partially palmated right main beam.
Buzzards had gotten to the buck earlier in the day and had taken out one of its eyes, but the taxidermist said the deer will look just fine on the wall, where Lucky Charm will overtake her dad’s nice 7-point and lay claim as the biggest - and luckiest - buck in the house.
“It’s me now,” she said with a laugh. “He’s going to have to step it up!”
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.