Oftentimes, deer hunting is a gritty test of patience and determination, gutting out days, weeks and even months in the stand in relentless pursuit of that elusive trophy buck.

But every once in a while, if you put in enough time, you might experience a hunt like Curtis Brown did on New Year’s Day in the Bonnet Carré Spillway in St. Charles Parish.

The 31-year-old service technician from Norco busted a big 13-point buck before he even finished strapping his climber to a cypress tree that afternoon about 4 p.m.

“I hooked my bottom to the tree and I was hooking my top up and I was just about to go up, and that’s when everything went down,” Brown said.

He was facing the tree attaching the climber when he heard something moving along the edge of a swampy bottom behind him, and was shocked to see a deer cruising with its head down at about 80 yards.

“I could tell it was a deer, but I couldn’t tell how big it was,” Brown said. “I kind of froze for a minute because I thought he’d seen me.”

The Spillway is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Brown said only shotguns and bows are permitted for deer hunting. So he needed to act quickly if he was going to get a crack at the deer in shotgun range.

“I wear a vest with all my buckshot in it, and I put a round in the barrel, but when I closed the chamber he took off,” Brown said. “When he started running, all I saw was horns.

“I found a clear opening, and when I shot, I hit him in the back of the neck and it fell right on the spot. It felt like 20 minutes, but all that happened in just a couple of seconds.”

Brown quickly covered the 50 yards to to the deer to check out what he’d just shot.

“I didn’t know how big he was until I got over there, and I freaked out,” he said. “I called my wife; I called everybody I knew. They were trying to ask me how big he was and how many points he had - I couldn’t even tell them.

"I said, ‘I don’t know. Eleven, 12 or 13 - I don’t know. It’s just huge, so come help me.’”

The 13-pointer green-scored a whopping 163 inches Boone and Crockett, with a 16 1/4-inch inside spread. The 5-year-old buck weighed-in at a hefty 217 pounds.

“It’s the biggest buck I’ve ever killed,” said Brown, who lives just a mile or two from where he dropped the deer. “It’s a monster around this parish. It’s the talk of the town.”

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