Monroe’s Blake Jones considers himself fortunate to get to hunt on a particular farm in Caldwell Parish — his brother’s father-in-law owns a farm near Columbia with mostly bottomland and CRP that is butted up to the Lafourche Canal.
“Mr. Hart, who owns the farm, has given me permission to hunt his land and there are lots of deer on the place,” Jones said. “He does insist on a rule that some folks might question. It’s a “bucks only” rule and nobody is allowed to shoot does.”
That rule worked in Jones’ favor on Dec. 18 when a group of does apparently detected his scent and spent a good half-hour blowing at him.
“I had gone out to the stand late on the afternoon of Dec.18 and had decided to hunt in a stand that hadn’t been hunted in quite awhile,” he said. “The stand was old and open. It didn’t even have a door on it. It was warm that afternoon and the mosquitoes were pretty bad.
“Within minutes after I sat down, seven does came out to the food plot to feed.”
With his scent riding on the warm breeze, the does became nervous and five of them left. Two, however, decided to hang around and let all the other deer in the woods know that an intruder was in the area because they stood and snorted and blew in his direction for a full 30 minutes.
“I figured that they had messed me up pretty good so I just put my rifle in the corner, picked up my binoculars and watched the troublesome does as they snorted and blew at me,” he said.
Three days prior to this hunt, Jones had taken his wife to a different stand to see if she might have a chance at a big buck that had shown up on trail cameras. The buck did indeed make an appearance but stayed behind some trees out from the stand until dark, and she never got a shot.
“While I was watching the does, at around 5:10, I saw something move in the draw near where the two does were standing and still blowing,” Jones said. “My heart raced a bit when I realized that what I was looking at was the big 8-point buck my wife had tried for a few days earlier.”
The buck stopped and apparently picked up on whatever it was that had alarmed the does.
“The buck was on full alert and began stomping,” he said. “He quartered toward me, stomped once and as he raised his foot to stomp again, I squeezed off a shot at him with my Ruger .308.
“He took off and headed into the thick CRP.”
When he walked down to the spot where the buck was standing, Jones didn’t find a drop of blood or a piece of hair that indicated a hit.
“I heard him run off and thought I heard him fall, but by then it was getting dark,” Jones said. “A cold front was scheduled to come through that night, so I felt it was safe to leave him overnight and start the search the next morning.”
Jones’ stepdad joined him the next day with temperatures in the 20s as they spread out to begin the search.
“We were walking about 25 to 30 yards apart and began picking through the thick area hoping to find evidence that I’d hit the deer. As I was walking through the thick stuff, I walked right up on the deer,” Jones said. “He had run about 120 yards from where I shot him, had expired and was lying next to a big tree and fortunately, the coyotes hadn’t found him.
“I couldn’t believe how really big the buck was until I got my hands on him.”
The buck was impressive for sure: weighing 220 pounds, the heavy 8-point rack had a 19 1/8 inch inside spread with main beams that stretched to 28 inches each, and G2s around 12 inches. Bases were more than 5 inches each.
Simmons’ Sporting Goods in Bastrop scored the rack at 157 ⅝ inches, which put Jones’ buck in first place in the 8-point category in the store’s big buck contest.
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.