Heavy-horned rack green scores north of 183 inches
Bill Harvey dislikes sitting still in a deer stand waiting on a buck, so the 62-year-old Monroe hunter has taken up a “sneak and sit approach.”
On Nov. 29 while hunting on Davis Island in Madison Parish, Harvey’s method paid off in spades when the biggest buck he had ever seen came strolling by.
“I just don’t like sitting still in a deer stand and I have adopted a method with which I am more comfortable,” Harvey said. “I’ll find a ridge and determine wind direction and sneak along, periodically sitting and waiting with the wind in my face.”
Davis Island is shared jointly by Warren County in Mississippi and Madison Parish in Louisiana. Harvey, who retired after a 34-year career with State Farm Insurance, has for the past 20 years been invited by a friend who holds a membership in this attractive plot of real estate. He and his son Matt are both invitees to hunt the island.
“Matt and I have both shot some good bucks over the years, bucks measuring in the 140-range. On this day, my son was helping debone several doe we had taken,” he said. “Even though we hunt using Louisiana licenses, we have to abide by Mississippi regulations, which includes the new strict guidelines on handling of harvested deer related to chronic wasting disease which had been identified in the state.”
Packing his Thompson Center 7-mag rifle, his shooting stick and the stool he uses for dove hunting, Harvey headed for a ridge where he knew the wind would favor his style of hunting. Two days earlier, he had spotted a really big buck there, and Matt suggested he head back to the same area.
“I got on the ridge I wanted that was in the area of a big acorn flat, and deer were really working on the acorns,” he said. “I slipped along and found a ‘lay down’ tree, set down on my stool and waited. It didn’t take long before deer began coming out to scarf up the acorns.”
Not long after taking a seat, Harvey watched a good 9-point buck in the 140-inch range come into the flat along with some spikes and yearlings.
“Right around 8, I saw another deer coming from my right. He gets to about 75 yards from me and I can see the left side of his rack. I assumed it was probably a nice 8 point; we see lots of deer like that here. All of a sudden at 50 yards, I could see that this was way more than a nice 8-point,” he said. “He starts walking my way, turns and I can see a split brow tine and five points on the other side. I decided this was one I wanted to take so I put the crosshairs on him, shot and he fell on the spot.”
Walking up to the fallen buck, Harvey was more astonished with each step he took. He knew he was looking at the biggest buck he had ever seen.
‘I called Matt and told him I needed help. I told him this was no ordinary buck — but a gigantic one,” he said. “When Matt got there and got within 50 yards of the downed buck, he looked at me and said ‘Dad, you have just killed a monster.’”
Matt was right: The buck, which weighed a whopping 249 pounds, sported a main-frame 8-point rack with a split brow tine plus a kicker point. The inside spread was a whisker shy of 22 inches, and bases measured 5 ½ inches with mass throughout the rack. The buck’s main beams measured between 27 and 28 inches.
The rack was taken to Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop for entry into that store’s Big Buck Contest, where it measured 183 5/8 inches of bone, good enough to put Harvey’s trophy at the top of the list in the men’s division.