Third time was the charm for Weems
About this time one year ago, Matthew Weems watched as a big buck stepped out at about 300 yards on a long lane on his family’s property in Tensas Parish. Weems shot and missed, but the buck didn’t move. Then he fired and missed again as the buck trotted away, obviously not too bothered by the long-distance attempts.
“I had already killed a nice 10-point that season and I was in the stand just checking to see what I could see,” Weems recalled. “When I saw that buck though, and shot at and missed it twice, I was upset with myself and pretty seriously shook up because I knew he was a special buck.”
This was the last time Weems got to hunt that season because as a freshman in civil engineering at LSU, he had to head back to school. But his dad Tracy decided to keep an eye out, and sat on the stand to look for the special buck. One afternoon, Tracy watched the big deer walk out at 20 yards — but had no intention of shooting: He vowed his son would have another chance at the impressive deer the following season.
The family property the Weems duo hunts is a 1,000-acre block of land with its south border adjoining the Tensas National Wildlife Refuge. The long lane that was nicknamed the “Bowling Alley” sits between two narrow strips of woods, and deer come out to feed on the lane from their bedding areas.
Fast forward to this season: Late on the afternoon of Dec. 21, Matthew, now 19, climbed into his box stand overlooking the long lane. About 4:15, he looked up to see what he thought was the elusive big buck he missed last season. The deer stepped into the lane and started walking toward one of the strips of woods, but before he could get off a shot, it disappeared into the timber.
“I texted my dad who was hunting on the far end of our property and told him I thought I could get down and slip through the woods and maybe get a shot,” the younger Weems said. “But Dad told me to stay put; that there was a chance he might come back out.”
At around 4:55, his dad’s prediction proved true as the buck emerged again at 225 yards. Matthew had received a new Ruger .270 for his 19th birthday and this time, his aim was deadly accurate. At the shot, the buck dropped in its tracks.
“I didn’t bother to climb out of my stand. I unloaded my gun, grabbed my pack and jumped down, called my dad and told him he’d better hurry up and get here because I just downed the big buck,” Weems said. “Dad brought the 4-wheeler, we loaded up the buck and took it in.
“I don’t know who was more pleased — me or dad.”
The buck, a mainframe 8-point, featured a rack with 13 scoreable points. The inside spread was 17 1/8 inches, with 5-inch bases and main beams 25 and 26 inches each. Tipping the scales at 225 pounds, the big deer was scored by Buckmaster’s official scorer Cecil Reddick at 170 5/8 inches.