Only days before deer season came to an abrupt halt on Winter Quarters Hunting Club in Tensas Parish, Ruston’s Daniel Alexander got in a good lick before the rising waters of the Mississippi River shut the area down.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries made a decision to interrupt the season in the area from the Mississippi River to Highway 65 from the Arkansas state line down to Vidalia. Winter Quarters is located between the levee and the river, and is subject to flooding as the Mississippi continues to rise.
Hunting with his brother Dustin as guests of club member Lane Cox, the trio worked feverishly to get Daniel, 24, a buck before the season came to a halt.
Cox had taken an impressive 140-inch 10-point buck a few weeks earlier, and he knew of several more good bucks in the area. Time, however, was of the essence because of the approaching flood.
“The hunt really started on Dec. 26 when the three of us went into the area where I’d taken the 10-point, and we saw two different shooter bucks that morning but were unable to get a shot,” Cox said.
One of the bucks the trio observed was a mature 7-point, and the intention was to take him if given the chance. However, the buck never presented himself for a decent shot — so they went back to the area that afternoon and even though they spotted the buck again, there was no opportunity for a shot.
“We went back the following morning, and saw several bucks chasing does but nothing we had a chance to shoot,” he said. “One of the bucks we spotted was the big 12-point that Daniel would eventually take.”
The following morning, Dec. 28, the odds were about to turn in Daniel’s favor.
“Just as it was getting daylight, we saw the big 7, and alongside him was the 12-point. I looked at Daniel and said, ‘The first shot you get at either of these bucks, take it,” Cox said.
Both bucks were chasing does and ran straight away from the three hunters. It was time to up the odds somewhat, and Cox resorted to his rattle horns to attract some attention.
“Only a minute or two passed when something told me to look to our left. The 12-point buck was standing there at 30 yards and then took off after a doe. We were shocked the deer had gotten so close without us realizing it,” Cox said. “The buck emerged from a patch of grass at 50 yards, Daniel made the shot and dropped the buck in its tracks.”
Measuring 140 inches with heavy mass throughout, the buck was estimated to be 5 ½ years old and weighed just more 200 pounds.
“He snuck right up behind us and when I spotted him, I started breathing hard,” Daniel said. “When Lane said, ‘Shoot,’ I was ready and the buck dropped on the spot. We all started high-fiving.
“I’ve taken four or five small bucks since I’ve been hunting but never got one like this. You can bet he’s going on my wall.”
Pending further changes, the deer season in the Delta area is scheduled to reopen this Saturday (Jan. 9) 30 minutes before sunrise, but that could change if rising waters dictate an extension of the closure.
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.