Noah Mason turned 14 on Dec. 15, but he received his best gift four days later when he dropped a 180-class Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area 15-point while hunting with his father.

“Noah and I drove down to the Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area in Ouachita Parish the morning of December 19 to see if we could get a deer,” father Michael Mason said. “We got there late, leaving the car at 7:40 that morning, and 20 minutes later Noah was standing over the big buck he had just shot.”

The kill came after the father-son duo elected not to hunt from stands but to sneak into an area they thought might be a good deer hangout.

They also knew that there were plenty of other hunters on the area, so the decision was to hunt near the road so as not to disturb other hunters.

“We were walking side by side, and I was instructing Noah about walking quietly and watch out for sticks and dry leaves,” the elder Mason said. “About that time, I looked up and saw something move next to a big, fallen treetop just ahead.

“I saw a flash of white and realized it was a doe that had gotten up from the top and had taken off.”

As he was watching the doe depart in a hurry, Michael Mason saw something else move in the area where the doe had been. He realized he was looking at a big buck.

“I threw my gun up and shot at the buck,” the father said. “In fact, I shot at him three times, and it was so thick that each time (that) my bullets clipped limbs around him.

“However, the buck apparently didn’t know where the shots came, from because he didn’t seem too alarmed.”

So he told his son to ease on up and see if he could spot the deer, and Noah Mason saw a piece of the deer in a small opening, raised his .243 and shot at the only part of the deer he could see — the buck’s head.

“When Noah shot, I saw the deer take off and run about 30 yards, where it suddenly tumbled over at the edge of a slough,” Michael Mason said.

He asked Noah where he thought he hit the buck, and wasn’t too happy about the answer.

“I sort of fussed at him about aiming at a deer’s head, and Noah told me that’s all he could see, so he shot,” Michael Mason said.

The elder Mason could see the buck lying in the edge of the water, so he called his son over to take a peek through the brush.

“When I first got to where I could see the deer lying there and a big bunch of horns sticking up, I was so excited,” Noah Mason said. “My eyes got big as saucers. This is the first buck I ever shot.”

The buck was indeed a trophy, sporting 15 points on a non-typical rack. The buck was judged to be 5 ½ years old, and green scored 183 1/8 inches at Simmons' Sporting Goods in the non-typical category.

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