Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction, and things that happen in the woods just don’t makes a whole lot of sense.
Like when a trophy buck with big rocking chair antlers presents itself broadside directly in front of a hunter in a tree...
What are the chances of bagging the brute after cleanly missing it on the first shot?
Slim at best.
How about even getting a second shot, much less nicking it on that one?
Considering adrenaline levels at that point, pretty improbable.
And finally, what are the odds of the deer actually moving closer to you and just standing there for a third and final shot?
It sounds like an impossible scenario, but that’s exactly what happened to 18-year-old Dustin Anders of Deville, a senior at Alexandria High School who was hunting with his dad north of Winnfield, when he finally got his hands on a buck that apparently had some type of death wish.
“My dad and I don’t belong to a hunting club and we like to hunt the Kisatchie National Forest land in Winn Parish. On the morning of Oct. 26, we headed up for a deer hunt,” Anders said. “I was using my .444 primitive firearm.”
The pair had hunted the area before, and found a good bit of buck sign in an area next to a clear cut with a creek bottom nearby.
“I got to where I was going to hang my stand and climbed probably 30 feet up a tree so I could see down into the thick stuff around the stand. I had just gotten settled when I felt my phone vibrate.” Anders said. “ I started to check to see if I had a message when something told me to look up.”
What he saw caused his breath to catch in his throat and something besides his phone to start vibrating.
Anders got a serious case of buck fever when the 8-point of a lifetime was standing right in front of him.
“I started really shaking when I saw the antlers on the biggest buck I had ever seen in my life, and it was making a rub on a big tree just out in front of me,” he said. “I got my gun up and the deer started walking away, but then turned broadside.”
Anders said he was so nervous he had trouble keeping the crosshairs of his scope on the deer, but squeezed off a shot as the deer took off.
“Instead of running away, the buck ran right toward me and stopped probably 90 yards away. When I’m hunting with the .444, I always put two bullets into the padding on my stand so I reached, got a bullet out, reloaded, cocked my gun and fired again,” he said. “The deer took off again toward me and stopped maybe 30 yards away.
“I could hear the buck breathing hard like it was wheezing.”
Reaching for another bullet, he realized he had only put one bullet in the padding that morning, so he had to stand, dig beneath his overalls and get to the side pocket of his cargo pants to retrieve another bullet.
As he inserted the third bullet, he called on a little divine intervention for the next shot.
“I was praying, ‘Dear Lord, don’t let this buck get away.’ I’d never seen anything that big,” he said. “When I reloaded and cocked the gun, the buck looked directly at me and I thought it was all over.”
Fortunately, the deer turned to look the other way, Anders managed to get the crosshairs on the buck’s shoulder and this time, his aim was true.
The buck ran only 20 yards before collapsing.
“I called my dad who was wondering what all the shooting was about,” Anders said. “I told him I’d just shot a wallhanger.”
And a wallhanger it is: The big buck had more than 18 inches of air between its antlers on a massive, symmetrical 8-point rack.
“We found out the reason the deer was breathing so hard was my second shot hit him in the neck and severed his windpipe,” he said.
The buck scored 161 inches at Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop, good enough to lead both the 8-Point and Primitive Firearms divisions as of this writing.
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.