Long walk results in big 11-point public land buck

Billy Bergeron
Lake Charles' Billy Bergeron nailed this big Tensas NWR 11-pointer on Nov. 24. The big buck stretched the tape to more than 165 inches.

Bergeron nails 165-inch trophy on Tensas NWR

Billy Bergeron believes that to kill a mature buck, you have to get away from the crowds.

And on Saturday, Nov. 24, the 53-year-old Lake Charles hunter hiked over a mile into the heart of the Tensas National Wildlife Refuge — and came out with a heavy-antlered 11-point buck.

“I love to hunt public land, and have killed lots of deer in areas like Peason Ridge, Thistlethwaite, Lake Ophelia, Buckhorn and Tensas. I had driven to near the Tensas and camped with some friends nearby,” Bergeron said. “On Friday morning, I walked way back into the heart of the refuge where I had found the oaks dropping acorns and deer trails in the area. I hooked my Summit climbing stand to a tree to see what might walk out.”

His long walk that day produced nothing except sighting a small spike and some feral pigs.

“I stayed in the stand until around 1 and since I hadn’t seen much activity, I moved my stand to another spot with lots of falling acorns,” Bergeron said. “By mid-afternoon, the weather got bad. It started raining and I had forgotten my rain gear so I got wet. I was surprised to see a couple of does come out eating acorns in the rain. The weather got worse so I climbed down and hiked out of the woods.”

The next morning, the weather had cleared and Bergeron headed back into the middle of the refuge to the area he hunted the day before. Again, the morning hunt produced nothing he wanted to shoot so he climbed down and left.

Billy Bergeron of Lake Charles dropped this 165-inch buck Nov. 24 on Tensas National Wildlife Refuge.
Billy Bergeron of Lake Charles dropped this 165-inch buck Nov. 24 on Tensas National Wildlife Refuge.

“I am only interested in shooting something big and mature, and I’ve let a bunch of deer walk this season,” he said. “After climbing down, I noticed that all the trails were headed for the same area, so I went in and found acorns falling like rain …”

Up 20 feet in his climber, Bergeron sat and waited. As dusk approached, he still hadn’t seen anything — until he heard something walking behind him.

“I eased my head around and there was this big buck not 10 yards behind me and to my right. I couldn’t move my gun or anything but when he moved his head, I eased my Remington .270 around just a little,” Bergeron said. “He turned to walk away and when he did, I stood up, pivoted around just as he gave me a broadside look and I shot. The deer ran and I heard him crash about 60 yards away.”

About that time, Bergeron became a bit concerned because it was getting dark, and he was over a mile from his truck amidst a healthy population of black bears on Tensas. (He shot an 8-point in the area last year and when he recovered the buck, a bear had beaten him to it and was beginning to gnaw on his deer).

“I ran the bear off and got my deer but as I was leaving the woods with my deer on a cart I take in with me, the bear followed me,” he said.

With no bears around this time, Bergeron was able to successfully get the deer on his cart and make it back to his truck after dark.

The buck weighed 210 pounds, and sported a massive rack of 11 points with antler circumference measuring 5 inches at the bases, and increasing to 6 ½ further up the rack. A taxidermist put the tape to it and gave it a gross score of 165 1/8 inches of antler.

Glynn Harris
About Glynn Harris 306 Articles
Glynn Harris is a long-time outdoor writer from Ruston. He writes weekly outdoor columns for several north Louisiana newspapers, has magazine credits in a number of state and national magazines and broadcasts four outdoor radio broadcasts each week. He has won more than 40 writing and broadcasting awards during his 39 year career.