The only thing better than getting off of work early is getting off of work early on the opening day of bow season — and Cody Landrem made his time off count when he stuck a big 13-point in velvet last Thursday on family property in Madison Parish.

“We were working down in Tensas Parish and ended up getting off early,” said Landrem, 22, of Tallulah, who works as an electrician’s helper. “I was pretty fired up about it. We worked until about 2, so I went home and took a little shower and went straight to the woods.”

He climbed into a 16-foot lean-to stand overlooking a food plot and a small pile of rice bran about 4 p.m., and it didn’t take long for him to start seeing deer.

“We hunt on 72 acres behind my grandfather’s house that’s been on a buck program the last six to seven years,” he said. “We’ve shot several big deer there, including one over 200, a couple of 170s and a couple of 160s. My buck is the seventh one taken there over 150.

“This is the biggest one I’ve ever killed and I just so happened to get it with a bow. I’m pretty excited about it.”

When Landrem recognized a couple of the deer he was watching from trail cam photos, he figured the big buck he was after wouldn’t be far behind.

“I saw the first two he usually travels with, and when they came out I knew he was eventually going to come out because they travel in bachelor groups,” he said. “So I just sat there and waited, and about 25 yards he came out…

“We obviously had him on camera for a couple of years, but this is the first year he’s ever had those kickers off the back G2s. So we weren’t really sure if it was the same deer we’ve been seeing. I’m thinking he was an 8-point last year. But this year he miraculously had a double G3 on his left side and the kickers off both G2s.”

With a rack that unique, there was no mistaking when the big buck stepped out around 6:30.

“When I saw the right side of his horns, I knew exactly which deer it was because that was the one I was going there for. As soon as he stepped out and the big 9 that was in the feed turned and walked off, I drew my bow,” Landrem said. “The wind kind of had all the deer spooked, and as soon as I got my bow drawn, I had to hold it about 30 seconds or so. 

“That thing got a little tight holding it that long. He took a couple of steps after he put his head down, and I eased up on the front of the seat and let it fly.”

Landrem was hunting with a Mathews Z7 bow, and he shot an Easton FlatLine arrow with a Swhacker broadhead. 

“I put it right behind his shoulder at 25 yards, and he ran 30,” said Landrem, who also is a studying industrial instrumentation and has almost completed his commercial pilot’s license. “I heard where he crashed. He ran up in the woods, but when I was walking out I could see him from the food plot.”

His lifelong hunting buddy, Colvin Todd, was with Landrem when they made their way over to see the big buck up close and personal.

“We were high-fiving,” Landrem said. “He said, ‘Man, Cody, he’s huge.’ I was still shook up, and this was like 30 minutes after I shot him.

“I couldn’t get my phone out of my pocket fast enough when I let that arrow fly.”

The first person he had called was his father. 

“I called dad, but he didn’t answer,” he said. “He finally called back and I said, ‘I smoked him.’

“He knew exactly what I was talking about.”

The 255-pound buck was aged at 5 ½ years, featured 13 official points and a 13 ½-inch inside spread with 5 ½-inch circumferences at the bases. It green-scored 154 ¾ inches Pope & Young. 

The whole experience of taking down his biggest buck so far — in velvet, with a bow — is one he won’t likely ever forget.

“Everything was real serious up to the point I saw the arrow fly through the deer, and I knew he was going down,” Landrem said. “Man, I got nervous then. I got to shaking like a leaf after that happened. It was a very, very memorable moment, I’ll say that.”

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 optics at the end of the contest.

Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here