Gil Dowies of Homer is fortunate that his wife’s family owns 1,000 prime acres of land in Claiborne Parish. Combined with 1,500 additional acres owned by other kin, Dowies and his hunting buddies have 2,500 acres of hunting paradise they call Sunnyside Hunting Club.
On Nov. 12, an awesome buck with gnarly antlers started showing up on their trail cameras, with both day and night images being recorded. No one had ever seen this buck before and because of the unique configuration of his headgear, one of the club members suggested the name “Big Nasty.”
“Once those photos of this buck showed up on our camera, we got serious about hunting the area where the photos were taken every chance we got,” Dowies said.
On the afternoon of Monday, Nov. 16, Dowies was in the right place at the right time when Big Nasty decided to make a daytime appearance.
“One of my hunting partners, Dr. Mark Haynes, and I headed for our stands that afternoon with the images of this impressive buck on our minds,” he said. “Mark climbed into a stand nearest to where the camera had recorded his photo, while I opted for the Four Way stand, which was some 500 yards from where Mark sat.”
This particular box stand sits at the intersection of two pipelines, giving the hunter access to four directions.
“The weather was not the best for deer movement — it was sort of warm and muggy with showers off and on. We got on our stands around 3:30 that afternoon. An hour after getting on my stand, I saw a deer step out down one of the pipeline clearings at 185 yards and even without my binoculars, I could tell it was a pretty good deer,” Dowies said. “Once I got the binocs on him, I recognized that I was looking at Big Nasty.
“The problem was he was walking across the line and if I wasn’t able to stop him, he’d be gone before I could shoot. I bleated real loud and he stopped and looked my way. Then he began walking again, (so) I bleated louder. He stopped again, and by then I had him in my scope and I squeezed the trigger on my Browning .270,” Dowies said.
The deer paused a few seconds before wheeling around and heading back into the woods.
“There was a sweet gum tree with bright orange and red leaves, and when the buck ran back in the woods, he ran right beside that tree,” he said.
Dowies texted Haynes to let him know what was going on. He normally likes to wait at least 20 minutes after a shot before getting down to look for a deer, but rain started falling harder, so Dowies headed to the spot where the buck had been standing.
“There was no blood nor hair where he stood so I walked to the sweet gum tree, feeling sure I’d find blood. There was none and I was starting to get discouraged,” he said. “I walked in the direction I thought he’d run and there he lay, just 20 yards from the pipeline. He never bled a drop. I assume it was a liver shot.”
The buck was a fine trophy indeed. Sporting 13 points, the inside spread was 18 ½ inches with enormous bases measuring over 6 ½ inches each. The buck weighed 180 pounds, and although it hasn’t been officially scored, tentative measurements put the rack at around 150 inches.
“We’ve hunted Sunnyside for the past 33 years,” Dowies said. “Although we’ve killed some good deer, Big Nasty has the heaviest mass of any we ever got here.”
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.