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