|Courtesy Casey Young|
|Casey Young and his monster 18-point Concordia Parish buck.|
Sometimes even when everything bad imaginable happens, fate smiles on you and bad turns to good. For Casey Young, who hunts his family's property in Concordia Parish, the good couldn’t have been better on the afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 13 as he stood over the fallen form of a huge 18-point buck sporting lights-out headgear. With a score of 205 6/8, the buck currently sits atop the non-typical archery category in the Simmons Sporting Goods big buck contest.
“I bow hunt but had never arrowed a buck. In fact,” Young said, “when I decided to take up bow hunting a few years ago, I went into the sporting goods store for a bow, the salesman asked what brand and I told him I didn’t know; just pick me one out with lots of ‘stuff’ on it. I came out of the store with an Archery Research (AR) bow and that’s what I hunt with,” he added.
A couple of days prior to that Tuesday, Young, who is funeral director at Young’s Funeral Home in Ferriday, accepted an invitation from a friend to hunt on his property. Intent on taking a doe, Young thought he was ready when a doe walked out. The release was not attached correctly, the arrow flew off and the doe fled. Young was determined that things would go right as he headed to his lock-on stand the afternoon of Nov. 13.
“I had a funeral that morning so I was ready to try and get a deer that afternoon," he said. "I was content to take a doe, although in the back of my mind, I had the image of a monster buck that had recently appeared on my trail camera. All the photos were at night and I told a friend that nobody would likely ever see this big buck."
Leaving his Bad Boy Buggy up the trail at around 3:15, Young got half-way to the stand when he realized he’d forgotten his “possibles” bag containing all his bow hunting gear.
“I walked back to the buggy, got my stuff and climbed into my stand," he said. "I believe in safety and I use not only a safety harness but also a safety belt like utility linemen use. I got all strapped in when I reached for my release and realized I’d left it back in the buggy."
By now, it is 4:15 and after retrieving his release, Young decided that while he was down, he’d move his trail camera and trim a couple of limbs that were in the way.
“Finally, about 4:30, I was back in my stand all strapped in and ready to hunt,” he recalled.
Not long after eventually getting settled in, Young watched a doe step from behind a patch of salt bushes just out from the stand. He was ready to arrow the doe when he noticed movement behind the bushes and got a glimpse of an antler.
“I held off on the doe since I knew I was about to have a chance at a buck,” said Young. "I picked up my binoculars and what I saw just about wiped me out. It was the big buck I’d seen on my trail cam and he was only 15 yards away and about to step into an opening. I lowered my binoculars and my heart was beating so fast, they were just bouncing on my chest."
He was able to draw his bow before the buck stepped from behind the bushes and when the deer took the final two steps, Young was ready, or so he thought.
“I realized I was staring down my arrow with both eyes wide open, but fortunately I recovered in time to get on the peep sight, put the pin on his shoulder and release the arrow," he said.
The buck took off like nothing had happened and Young assumed he’d missed.
“It took me several minutes to calm down enough to climb down and when I went to where the buck was standing, I found nothing,” he said. "Just as I began thinking of every possible scenario of how I’d missed, I found one speck of blood, about the size of a pencil eraser."
Young left the area and called a friend. Three hours later, Young and four friends began the search, fanning out in the direction the deer ran. One of the friends walked up on the downed buck, which had run only 60 yards, and the celebration began.
The 18-point buck was taken to Simmons Sporting Goods the next day and scored a whopping 205 6/8 in the store’s big buck contest. Inside spread fanned out to 24 5/8 inches and the buck weighed an incredible 293 pounds.
“When I saw him there on the ground, I was overwhelmed at what a majestic animal this was,” said Young. "It was a very humbling experience.”
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