McPherson’s monster 17-point grosses 200 inches-plus
Since 1943, Don Broadway’s Madison Parish giant has stood atop the Louisiana Big Game Records as the state’s largest typical buck ever harvested with a gun, coming in with a score of 184 6/8 inches of sheer antler perfection.
In the 75 long years since, thousands and thousands of hunters have ventured into the woods and marshes of the state and killed thousands and thousands and thousands of deer — and no one has beaten the Broadway buck (Ernest McCoy’s Bossier Parish deer came within a whisker in 1961, and claimed the No. 2 spot at 184 4/8 inches).
Every couple of years a big buck is taken that get folks talking about a new potential record – Charlie Lusco’s big Diamond Island white-tail in 2016 netted out at 173 3/8 and came in at No. 24 on the all-time list.
This season, potential typical state record rumors are swirling around a giant Avoyelles Parish 17-pointer killed by Joe McPherson last Sunday, Dec. 9, on the south farm of the old Louisiana Delta Plantation near Effie.
The deer has been scored by McPherson’s taxidermist, and at Spotted Dog Sporting Goods in Columbia and Simmons’ Sporting Goods in Bastrop, with gross numbers ranging from 196 ⅛ at Simmons to about 200 by his taxidermist to 202 ⅜ at Spotted Dog.
“It’s the most symmetrical deer I’ve ever seen,” said McPherson, 67, of Woodworth, a real estate developer who also served as a Louisiana state senator from 1984 to 1996 and again from 2000 to 2012. “He’s a mainframe 14-point with two brow guards and 17 scoreable points. Sixteen of the points are almost as symmetrical as if you were building it out of clay …
“It’s so few deductions on this deer. We’ll have to wait and see.”
The deer was scored at 86 2/8 on each side at Simmons, and 83 ⅛ and 83 ⅜ at Spotted Dog. Main beams were 28 ⅛ and 27 ⅝, with bases right at 5 inches each. The buck weighed 223 pounds, and had an inside spread of 23 ⅞ inches, McPherson said.
He hasn’t yet gotten a jawbone age on the buck, but is a bit concerned that it’s only 3 ½ years old, and perhaps might have been harvested a year too soon.
“I actually would have liked to pass him again this year, and maybe if he turns out to be 4 ½ I’ll be real glad I shot him. But if he turns out to be 3 ½, it’s going to be bittersweet,” he said. “But I’m in an informal cooperative, and everybody else that I showed a picture of the deer to said they would shoot it if they saw it.
“It’s hard to pass a deer when everybody else says they wouldn’t.”
McPherson said the buck was a symmetrical 10-pointer last season, with roughly a 20-inch spread that likely was in the 150- to 160-inch range. He didn’t know if the deer was still bedding down on his section of the lease this season until he checked his trail cams early last weekend.
“No one indicated they had ever seen this deer this year or last year, except for me. I didn’t know if he had survived from last year or was even back on my property,” he said, noting the area flooded last spring. “I looked at game camera pics and pulled my SD cards that Friday and he had showed up. That was the first time I was aware this year that he was still out there.”
McPherson headed to his box stand overlooking an oak flat full of acorns Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m., and saw the big buck step out quartering from his right side about two hours later as the sun was about to set. He fired his 7 Mag from about 100 yards, and just like that, the big buck went down where it stood.
“It was kind of bittersweet,” McPherson said, describing walking up on the big deer. “I was still questioning if he would have been a better deer next year, and did I make the right decision to go ahead and take him.”
McPherson is no stranger to big bucks: He has a non-typical mounted that’s never been officially scored that he suspects could top 200 inches. This buck will be displayed along with that one.
“I’ve got a comfortable camp, and he’ll go on the wall with his brethren,” he said.
Now the waiting game begins for the 60-day drying period to pass, so an official Boone & Crockett score can be taken. McPherson said his plan is to have the big buck scored at the Louisiana Sportsman Show and Festival at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales March 14-17.
In the meantime, the first rut is just about to kick off in Avoyelles Parish, and McPherson is heading back to his stand.
“This buck’s right ear was all torn up,” he said with a chuckle. “So I’m going to go and hunt for the deer that whipped him.”