Last October, Ben Larriviere watched a big-bodied, wide-racked 8-point walk in front of his lock-on stand in Avoyelles Parish for almost 30 minutes, but decided to pass on arrowing the big deer from only 20 yards.
He hadn’t ever seen the buck until that day, but when he started looking at trail cam pics of the deer later in the season, he second-guessed his decision.
“I just wasn’t positive he was old enough because of his small brow tines,” said Larriviere, 18, a senior at St. Thomas More in Lafayette. “Then I started picking him up on camera and realized he was much bigger than I thought the first time I saw him.
“I regretted passing on him.”
Larriviere, who started bowhunting when he was 11, had taken a youngish 10-point the season before on the same land near Marksville, a decision that was still gnawing at him this fall.
“It was a 4 1/2-year-old deer that I regretted shooting, so I was kind of hesitant to pull the trigger this year,” he said.
But the hunting gods smiled down on Larriviere for his restraint, and almost two months to the day after he let the big 8-point walk, the pair crossed paths one more time at the exact same spot on the afternoon of Dec. 27.
Larriviere was in his Lone Wolf lock-on up against a cypress tree on the edge of a slough facing a ridge of oak trees. He got situated about 2:30 in a cool drizzle, but the only action he witnessed was a doe passing through around 3:30.
Less than an hour later, he looked up and recognized a familiar rack.
“I was just on my phone for a little while and out of the corner of my eye - I didn’t hear a deer coming or anything - I look up and he’s 15 yards walking in front of me,” he said. “He walked about 10 yards to my left and then turned left, so he was broadside.”
As the big buck turned, Larriviere grabbed his Bowtech Airborne, stood and drew back on the deer.
“He was even with my tree to the left at 12 yards,” he said. “When I drew back, he stopped and looked at me. Before he could even know what happened, I pulled the trigger and hit him perfect.”
Larriviere arrowed the buck right behind its left shoulder, and the 100-grain Striker fixed broadhead did its job: The deer ran about 30 yards, stopped, swayed and then crashed after a few more steps.
“I was more nervous once I got my hands on him. I was excited when I shot him, but I didn’t realize how big he was,” he said. “I thought he was about 140 inches, but when I got up to him, I realized he was a lot wider and bigger than that.”
Indeed, the majestic 8-point sported a rack with an inside spread of 25 inches, with almost 6-inch bases and heavy mass out to the tips.
The 266-pound beast was estimated to be 7 years old, and green-scored an impressive 154 5/8 inches Pope & Young, good enough for Larriviere’s best 8-point to date and his third 150-class buck.
“When I first got there, I guess my adrenaline was pumping and I dragged the deer next to a tree. I took a picture and sent it to my dad,” said Larriviere, who plans on attending LSU in the fall and majoring in engineering. “When we came back an hour later to try and drag him out of the woods, me and him could barely budge it.
“It was a lot bigger than I thought.”
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.