For the past four years, Ronnie Ables has been after a particularly impressive buck that has been hanging around the 130-acre lease near his home in Winn Parish.
The buck has earned the nickname “Big Brow” because of the impressive brow tines he sports on his headgear.
On Tuesday, Oct. 13, Ables and his 9-year-old daughter Karlee, a 4th grader at Calvin Elementary School, were sitting in a box stand overlooking a thick and tangled clear cut where he had carved out two shooting lanes.
Just before dark, two bucks stepped out to feed on corn and rice bran Ables had placed there. One of the bucks was a nice 8-point, but standing beside the deer was the buck he’d been after. He nudged Karlee, who had just awakened from an impromptu nap, and told her to get ready because Big Brow was in the lane.
One shot from her .308 later — right behind the buck’s shoulder — and the deer was down for good only 30 yards away.
“This is a buck we’d been after for several seasons, and I really wish we could have gotten him a year ago when he had double drop tines,” Ables said. “This year, he had only one 2-inch drop tine, but his rack was impressive anyhow.”
The buck had actually been showing up on the trail camera of a friend who hunted property across the road since the deer was a 1 ½ years old.
“After a couple of years, the buck moved to my clear cut and has been showing up in trail photos regularly for the past four years,” he said.
Ables has a special set-up for Karlee when they hunt together: He has a device that allows her rifle to be held in a vice-like apparatus that holds the gun steady.
“As soon as we saw the buck and Karlee got ready, she had to wait until the 8-point stepped away from the big buck. She did a great job showing lots of patience even though she was getting more excited and nervous while having to wait for a clear shot,” he said.
After Karlee fired, father and daughter climbed down to see if she’d hit the buck. By then it was already getting dark and Ables — who didn’t bring a light — had to wait for his son to look for the deer.
“We found blood and knew she’d made a good hit. The deer only traveled 30 yards and when Karlee finally saw him, she was jumping and hollering and grinning,” he said.
Karlee said she had mixed emotions when she walked up on the big buck.
“I was kinda scared at first, but then I got real excited,” she said. “When I shot, I didn’t even feel the gun kick.”
The buck, which was taken to Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop, green-scored 148 6/8 inches. It sported a rack of 13 points, had an inside spread of 17 inches and eye-popping bases more than 6 inches each with the mass extending over the entire rack. The buck weighed 208 pounds, and Ables believes the deer was either 6 ½ or 7 ½ years old.
“I told Karlee that she’s taken a buck bigger than her daddy ever got, or hopes to get,” he said. “Her success will probably go downhill from here, with her first buck being such a whopper.”
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.