Irvin Stevens’ alarm clock didn’t wake him up on Friday morning, Nov. 14, but luckily he heard the rumble of trucks from some other hunters at his campsite as they headed off to their stands.
“I had gone hang out with friends of ours who were camping next door,” Stevens said, explaining his late night that Thursday. “When I heard their vehicle leaving that morning, that’s when I actually woke up. I was like, 'Aw, man!'
“If they would have passed the other way, around the little house instead of around the camp, I would have never heard them.”
And he probably would have missed out on the biggest buck he's ever shot, a solid 8-pointer on the Tar Hill Hunting Club near Coushatta in Red River Parish.
He was running about an hour late and didn’t get to his stand overlooking a fire lane on a pine plantation until around 7 a.m., but settled in for the morning.
Action picked up about 9:15 when a small 3-point walked into his lane about 75 yards from his box stand. The small buck crossed into the thicket, and Stevens, of Loreauville, grunted at him just to see if he would return.
“That’s when a doe took off. I hadn’t even noticed her,” he said. “After I grunted, I noticed her in the corner of my eye and saw her take off and run across the lane.”
He grunted again, and this time a different buck responded to his north, along a creek on his left side.
“I grunted once more, and that’s when I noticed him off the creek,” he said. “I could see him through the trees and I could see horns.”
He prepared his .270 Tikka, and the deer obliged him with a perfect broadside shot near the edge of the fire lane at about 53 yards.
“It all happened like in a split second. It was very quick,” Stevens said. “I was pretty nervous because that’s the biggest buck I’ve shot so far.”
Stevens nailed him in the right shoulder, and the buck crossed the lane and vanished in the brush. But Stevens could see trees shaking where the big buck was kicking as he went down.
“That’s when everything just kind of calmed down,” he said. “I was like, ‘Yup, I got him.’”
Stevens waited before heading down to check on the buck — but not for long.
“I was trying to wait 30 minutes, but it was only probably 10,” he said. “It’s actually funny because I’ve never killed a deer that big before, and it honestly took me almost an hour to load him up on the 4-wheeler by myself.”
The 3 ½-year-old buck tipped the scales at 205 pounds, with 8 solid points that green-scored 128 6/8 inches with a 15 ¾-inch inside spread.
Interestingly, Stevens said he had never laid eyes on the 8-pointer until that morning.
“I actually had just checked my trail cam a couple of days before that and got a picture of a buck that’s a little wider than him,” he said. “That’s the buck I was hunting.
"I had never seen this deer before.”
When he made his way through the brush and actually put his hands on the big buck’s rack, he thought of his dad and all the time they had spent together deer hunting.
“The first thing I did was hurried up and put my gun next to him and tried to take a picture and send it to my daddy because he’s the one who taught me how to deer hunt, but I didn’t have any service,” Steven said. “But when he finally got the picture, he was excited for me. Very excited.”
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.