If Lance Coutee had let some sniffling and sneezing keep him out of the deer stand on Dec. 24, then he’d still be hunting the buck he’s been chasing all season long.  

Sure, what the Plain Dealing native really wanted to do was stay in bed — but the thought of the monster buck out there roaming around his stand in Caddo Parish was more than he could bear.  

Lance had started to get images of the big buck earlier this season, but it was almost as if the deer was playing a game of cat and mouse with him.  

“I work all the time, and every time I’d hunt, I’d never get a picture, but when I was at work, I would.  I’d get a picture of him one day, and it may be three days or so before I got another one,” Coutee said.

Feeling like he was, it would have been a legitimate excuse to stay in on the morning of Christmas Eve, but the night before Coutee had a feeling that something special was about to happen, so he got out of his bed and drug himself to the deer stand.

As expected, he was pretty miserable as he sat there. Early on, he saw several does, which gave him some hope, but by 8 a.m. he’d had more than he could handle.  

“I was sneezing and coughing so bad that I finally just decided to get down and go home,” he said.

So he gathered his gear to head out, but before leaving, Coutee decided to head over to where two of the does he’d seen 45 minutes earlier were heading.

“There’s a corner where they were headed and I wanted to see if they were still down there,” he said.

He turned a corner and walked a few steps and saw a deer barely 80 yards in front of him — a deer he knew very well. 

“I had rounded the corner just a few seconds, and there he was where those two does were with his nose to the ground. I pulled my gun up to try to shoot him but I couldn’t hold it still, so I lowered it and caught my breath,” he said.

After quickly composing himself, Lance again raised his 7 Mag and took aim.  

“When I shot him, he almost did a back flip,” Coutee said. 

Feeling good about the shot, Lance went to inspect the area, expecting to see signs of a good hit.

“There was no blood at all. I looked for him for about an hour before I ever found him,” he said.

The deer’s rack is something truly unique:  The huge palmation on the 11-pointer makes it almost unmistakable, and combined with an impressive green score of 162 3/8 inches, it makes the animal truly special.

And the buck had a body to match his antlers, but the deer’s true weight might remain a mystery forever. 

“It’s hard to say on the weight,” he said. “They said that it broke a 300-pound scale, but I’m not sure.”

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