Mark Cappel of Pineville makes his living working in the oil and gas industry in Alaska, so he doesn’t get to hunt his family’s land in Rapides Parish very often.

But he made the most of his chances earlier this fall, when he downed a big 170-class buck on Oct. 26.

“My family owns a tract of about 700 acres north of Alexandria, and there are some really good deer on the property,” Cappel said.“My dad passed away last year, and as dad got older and found it harder to climb a ladder stand, I put him a nice box stand on a favorite spot - a stand that was overlooking a couple of food plots where we plant a variety of stuff deer like to eat, like clover, rape, etc.”

Not only did Cappel decided to hunt his dad’s favorite stand in honor of his father, he also was armed with his dad’s rifle, a .30-06. 

“I got on the stand about 3:30 that afternoon and knew from hunting there before that some deer would show up. I was just hoping it was one of the big ones we’ve been getting on trail cameras in the area,” he said.

True to form, about 30 minutes before dark, half a dozen does began filtering out onto the food plot to feed. But Cappel noticed that they kept looking back in the direction from which they came.

“One doe in particular was staring at a spot, and I looked in the direction she was looking and this big buck stepped out. It was one we hadn’t seen on trail camera photos and actually, I debated on whether to take him or not because we have some on the place larger than this one,” Cappel said.

About the time he decided the buck was a shooter, something happened that hunters often dread: A pack of coyotes started howling not far behind the buck.

“He turned his head to look toward the coyotes and I figured the game was up because he was on high alert. I really wanted him to look toward me so I could see what kind of spread he had, but he kept staring behind him,” he said. “He took one little step, and I dropped him in his tracks.”

The 11-point featured a massive rack with a 17-inch inside spread, and tines exceeding one foot in length. 

He took the buck, which weighed 200 pounds, to be measured at Simmons Sporting Goods where it green-scored 170 5/8 inches Boone & Crockett, good enough at the time of this writing for 5th place in the men’s category. 

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