Ryan Williams has been hunting a long time, but has never connected on a really big buck, with a couple of 7-points and an 8-pointer to his credit. 

His twin brother Reed, on the other hand, has taken down some studs, including a 14-point, and a 17-pointer when he was only 15 years old that measured 173-inches Boone & Crockett.

So when a heavy-horned public-land 12-point made its way along a ridge in Richard K. Yancey Wildlife Management Area on the afternoon of Monday, Dec. 29, it was fitting the two brothers were hunting together - and this time Ryan got the shot.

“I heard something coming through the water,” said Ryan, 32, of Kenner,  who works as a heavy machinery operator for Boh Brothers. “When I spotted him, he was 80 yards from me in chest-deep water. He was coming up onto the ridge getting out of the water.”

The brothers were hunting about 200 yards from each other, and Ryan had texted his brother to let him know something was coming.

“Honestly, at first I wasn’t excited,” he said. “I thought it might have been a doe.

“When I saw the rack, then I got excited. I was shaking.”

He watched the buck run across the ridge from his climber about 20 feet up, but couldn’t get a shot off until the deer turned about 40 yards from him. From his tip toes, with a branch partially obstructing his view, he fired his .30-06 and the buck bolted.

“I couldn’t even tell if I made a good shot,” he said. “I was shaking. He took off through the water behind me.”

He immediately called his brother with the news.

“I told him I just killed the biggest deer of my life,” Ryan said. “I had an adrenaline rush. I couldn’t even get out the stand. I thought I was having a heart attack, I really did.”

Reed met up with his brother, found a speck of blood and started walking through the water, eventually locating the big buck piled up on the next ridge over about 50 yards from where Ryan shot him.

“I’ll be honest with you, I cried. I did,” Ryan said. “I cried like a baby.

“I thought he would only score 130. I didn’t think he was big. My brother kept saying, ‘He’s big. He’s way bigger than that.’ Then we got to the camp, and everybody said, ‘That’s a big deer!’”

The 12-pointer ultimately green-scored 156 7/8 inches Boone & Crockett, with a 17-inch inside spread and about 6 inches of mass at the bases. The deer, estimated to be about 3 years old, weighed 190 pounds.

“He’s going to go right next to my brother’s (17-point) deer at my mom’s house. I’m not even putting him at my house,” Ryan said. “We have a wall of nothing but heads, all bucks. So we’re going to put him right next to my brother’s.”

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