Three seasons back, Joey Pruitt got a good 25-yard look at a big buck while bowhunting in Franklin Parish, but a small branch prevented him from getting a shot at the deer.

Actually, it might have ultimately worked out in Pruitt’s favor because a buck carrying the same antler characteristics of the one he saw three years ago — except for a noticeable increase in size and mass — found itself squarely in the crosshairs of his scope on the morning of Nov. 22.

“I think it may well have been the same buck,” said Pruitt, 51, of Waverly. “It had a lot of the same characteristics as the one I got this season.”

The 3,000-acre hunting club Pruitt belongs to has a management program for the deer on the property.

“We have a 13-inch inside spread or 15-inch main beam minimum in force, plus we take a good many does off the property to help keep the carrying capacity in check,” he said.

So when the 14-point buster of a buck stepped out at 145 yards that morning, there was no doubt in his mind the deer far exceeded the minimum restrictions.

“I got in my box stand before daylight that morning and there wasn’t much activity going on. I had seen a couple of does and a small spike, and I was beginning to wonder if maybe I should have stayed in bed that morning,” he said.

However, his thoughts of returning to sleep vanished around 8 when he saw a big deer step out onto an old road 145 yards from the stand. Drawing a bead on the buck’s shoulder, one shot from his .300 Win Mag dropped the deer in his tracks.

“When I got up to him, I was blown away because I’d never seen one that big on our club, and had no idea one that size lived here, until I remembered the one I’d seen when I was bowhunting a couple of seasons back,” he said.

Almost as impressive as the buck’s palmated, massive rack was the deer’s hefty body weight, which tipped the scales at 260 pounds.

The buck would have sported 16 points on a main frame 6-point rack, except two tines had been broken from fighting.

Even so, the 14 points and 18-inch inside spread, plus the mass, garnered a green score of 153 inches at Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop. 

“If this was the same buck I saw three years ago, I’m really glad I didn’t get him then,” Pruitt said. “As impressive as that buck was, the one I got this year was much more of a trophy.”

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