When the biggest Concordia Parish buck that Craig Hawn had ever seen stepped out at 150 yards last month, he decided to use a little reverse psychology in an attempt to make the shot easier for his 10-year-old son, Morgan.
“I was scared to death he was going to miss him,” said Hawn, 46, who lives on Lake St. John. “I was trying to calm him down, and said, ‘Son, he’s really not as big as he looks.’
The pair were in a box stand on private land Dec. 18, and the big 10-point had been captured on trail cams for the last two seasons — but this was the first time they had seen the deer in person.
“I was breathing harder than him,” the elder Hawn said with a chuckle. “He was like, ‘Daddy, why are you breathing so hard? I just kept saying, ‘He’s really not as big as he looks.’
“I was probably saying it really more for me, because Morgan was excited, but he didn’t look nervous compared to me.”
The two had only been in the stand — which overlooks a grass road on their property line — since 4:15, and the big buck stepped out at about 4:45 and slowly made its way down the road to a pile of rice bran.
“It seems like it took an hour to watch him, but it was probably only a few minutes for him to work his way down,” he said. “He finally go to the rice bran and started feeding, but he stayed facing us.”
An 8-point and a spike were feeding as well, which created another issue for the younger Hawn — a fifth grader at Delta Charter School in Ferriday — as he prepared to squeeze off a shot from his .308.
“When he finally turned broadside, the little 8-point gets in the way,” Hawn said. “I’m like, ‘Man, please don’t get into any confrontations.’ But they didn’t bother each other. Finally, the little 8-point turned and moved, and I told him, ‘I’m watching you, and I’m going to take it off safety.’
“‘I want you to see fire out your gun.’ I always preach to them that you have to see the fire come out the barrel or you’re going to miss. People close their eyes flinching: A gun doesn’t miss, the shooter does.”
Morgan squeezed and fired, but since his dad was watching him make the shot, neither was sure if the big buck was hit as it sprinted for the woods.
“When we finally got down to go check for blood, Morgan was getting shorter and shorter,” Hawn said. “He said, ‘Daddy, what if I missed him?’ I said, ‘Well, if you missed him, just hope it’s a clean miss.’”
But as it turns out, there was no need to worry. Morgan made a perfect 100-yard shot — and the big buck fell only 25 yards away from the pile of rice bran.
“We saw that big old rack sticking up in the woods,” Hawn said. “When Morgan saw he was dead, he jumped on him.
“He was jus so excited. We were high-fiving.”
The big deer was definitely worth all the enthusiasm. The giant 10-pointer was almost perfect: a 22 ½-inch inside spread, with less than an inch difference in measurements from each side of its rack.
Estimated at 3 ½ years old, the buck tipped the scales at 235 pounds and scored 163 ⅜ inches as a non-typical at Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop because of the huge tines sticking off both G2s.
And as far as the reverse psychology Hawn tried to use, apparently the kid didn’t buy it.
“When we went down there to look for blood, Morgan said, ‘Daddy, the whole time you were telling me he wasn’t that big, I was thinking you were crazy,’” Hawn said. “‘Because that’s a big old buck.’”
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.