Fen Collinsworth has a doe to thank for alerting him to the approach of a big buck coming through the woods on family property in Union Parish near Bernice on Saturday morning. 

Since the rut had kicked in over the northern-most parishes of central Louisiana, the presence of the doe put the 56-year-old Ruston hunter on high alert. 

“I had dropped my dad off at his blind and I continued to my ground blind located further on down in the woods. I use a tripod to steady my rifle when I’m in the ground blind and not long after settling down in the blind, I saw a doe coming through the woods about 120 yards to my left,” Collinsworth said. “I felt like there was a good chance a buck may be on her trail so I moved the tripod around in case a buck was following. Sure enough he was, and I was able to get ready just before he crossed a small shooting lane. 

“Had I not seen the doe and had a hunch the buck might be coming along, I would have probably missed the opportunity to get him in my scope.” 

Just before the buck stepped through the narrow lane - the deer never stopped - Collinsworth had settled the crosshairs of his .30-06 bolt action on the opening. When the buck stepped through, the hunter was ready and squeezed off a shot. 

The buck reacted as if it had been hit, but Collinsworth waited a full hour before leaving his blind to check on the accuracy of his shot. 

“I hunt this blind on a north wind and at first that morning, the wind was in my favor,” he said. “Then I noticed that the wind had changed to the south and I felt that if he wasn’t down for good, he might catch my scent and escape.

“I always use binoculars to assist in locating a deer I’ve shot so I can spot him in plenty of time should he still be alive. I hadn’t gone far when my binoculars picked up the sight all deer hunters love to see — a shining white belly. The buck was down for the count after traveling only about 50 yards.”

The big buck, estimated to be 4 ½ years old, carried 12 points on a tall and heavy rack. He was a buck Collinsworth was familiar with.

“My son, West, and I had him on trail camera last year and he was impressive a year ago, and equally so this season,” he said.

Although not officially scored, the big 12-point featured split G2s and another kicker, and was rough-scored at about 160 inches. The big rack carried an 18 5/8-inch inside spread with heavy mass throughout.

“When the rut is on and you see a doe,” Collinsworth said, “get ready because a buck could very well be hot on her trail.”

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