There’s one common trait amongst taxidermists across the country: When one tells you that he killed a good buck, you can bet the house that it’s a wall-hanger.
Curtis Thomas, the owner of CAT Taxidermy in Spearsville, recently got to experience the joy and excitement that all of his clients have when he brought down a great buck Nov. 2 on family land in Union Parish.
Spearsville sits just a few miles south of the Arkansas state line, and Curtis has spent the last few years hunting in Arkansas — until he bought a parcel of family land not far from his house.
“Some of it was my grandma’s and some was a cousin’s. I hardly hunted it last year because the people around the place shoot pretty much anything, which was kind of frustrating,” he said.
But he quickly changed his mind when a trail camera showed a monster buck hooking a holly tree during the 2014-2015 hunting season.
This season, Curtis devised a plan of attack on the buck.
As is common with old family land, there’s an old abandoned house that sits on the place, with a pipeline directly behind it — the perfect spot for a stand location.
“I went back there and bush-hogged a lane down an old skidder trail to a bottom about 150 yards long,” he said. “I knew there was some good deer in there because of all the sign I’ve seen, but you can’t really hunt them in there because it’s so thick.”
The rendezvous point was set, and when Curtis went to his 4x4 box stand that afternoon, it didn’t take long for the other participants in the main event to show up.
“I got in there around 3 and I bet it wasn’t 10 to 15 minutes when I saw him and another buck running a doe down in the bottom, at the end of lane,” Thomas said. “I could see him in scope but it was really quick. I could tell it was a good deer.”
The unique dark antlers on the buck made his heart race, and he watched intently as the game of chase brought the animals right across the end of his shooting lane. Immediately the trio came back out the other way, but he was unable to get a bead on the largest buck because of heavy brush.
After that quick showing, the deer seemingly disappeared. Then, nearly 45 minutes later, a doe walked out about 40 yards from him and began to feed. Less than two minutes later, the dark-horned buck appeared again — and this time Curtis wasn’t letting it get away.
“When he came out, she squatted down and trotted towards me,” Thomas said. “Really all I had was a now-or-never shot with her right in front of him, so I had to shoot over her back to hit the buck.”
At 5:05, the sniper-style shot from his 7mm-08 brought the buck down in its tracks. When he walked up on his prize, Curtis couldn’t believe what he saw.
The deer had 10 scorable points, a spread of 17 ⅛ inches and 25-inch main beams. The big buck tipped the scales at 176 pounds, and ultimately rough-scored 156 ⅜ inches Boone and Crockett.
“I’ll be honest with you, when I walked up and saw just how big he was, I hollered out like a little girl,” he said. “I’ve killed several big deer before, but nothing like this.”
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.