B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship on Ouachita river sends division winners to the Big Show.
Jack Fluitt sometimes has a back-up plan when it comes to deer hunting. Fortunately for Fluitt, a pipeline welder who lives near Tannehill in Winn Parish, he put his back-up plan to work the Thursday morning (Nov. 3) – and that plan allowed him to nail a freakish 17-point “cactus buck.”
Fluitt, who hunts on his 580-acre hunting club south of Winnfield, was somewhat late when he began his 3/4-mile trek to his lock-on stand situated in the heart of Plum Creek Timber Company’s three-year old pine plantation.
“I parked my truck and headed for the stand a little late, but that’s not unusual because daylight usually finds me walking to my stand,” said Fluitt.
Approaching his stand, Fluitt the wind was swirling sending his scent in all directions and he heard some deer blowing not far away.
“I figured maybe my hunt was blown before it ever started, but I decided to go ahead, climb my tree and see what happens,” he said.
Fluitt had already taken two does since gun season opened, so freezer meat was not high on his list. He was bow hunting on this day because felt he needed a bit more of a challenge because the doe he downed a few days earlier with his .243 required only a 15 yard shot.
“I climbed into my stand, the first time I’d been there this season, and saw several branches around the stand that needed trimming if I expected to get a good shot with my bow,” Fluitt said. “While trimming the branches, I heard a buck grunt in the direction I’d heard the deer blowing on my walk to the stand.”
He quickly finished the job at hand.
“After trimming some branches, I sat down, nocked an arrow in my bow when I heard something in the brush near my stand,” Fluitt said. “Catching movement out of the corner of my eye, I saw a buck 20 yards away across the creek.
“It jumped liked something startled it; I assumed it had winded me or seen me move to nock my arrow.”
The deer was standing dead still behind some brush that offered a shot to the vitals, but with the head obscured by brush Fluitt was afraid that if he moved to draw his bow there was the chance the deer was looking at him and would spook.
“Usually when I’m bow hunting during gun season, I strap on my side-arm, a Colt Anaconda .44 magnum, just in case I might need it,” he said. :I knew I needed to make a decision quickly because that buck wasn’t going to just stand there much longer, so holding the bow in one hand, I slowly reached for my pistol with the other and brought it up alongside my bow.”
Lining up the sights on the vitals – he shoots open sights since he’d lost a fine 12-point buck a season or so back by using a scope on his sidearm – Fluitt squeezed off a shot and watched the buck bound off only to stagger and topple into the dry creek 40 yards away.
“When I got down there and saw what I had, I knew there was no way I was going to haul this buck weighing at least 200 pounds up and out of the creek by myself,” he added.
Since his four-wheeler was in the shop, he mentally ran through his list of contacts he thought could help him, settling on the associate pastor at his church, who came with his son, his four-wheeler and trailer to help retrieve the buck.
“The buck was in full velvet with 17 scorable points, with a drop tine that was broken but not completely knocked off when the deer fell into the creek,” Fluitt said. “I had read about ‘cactus’ bucks, so I checked and saw that there were no testicles.”
So-called “cactus” bucks are those without testicles that either never descended from the abdomen or were damaged later. Normal velvet shedding does not take place nor do these bucks lose their antlers in spring as do normal bucks, thus, adding abnormal velvet covered and often freakish points during the buck’s lifetime.
The buck was taken to a taxidermist, who extracted the jawbone and estimated the deer’s age at 6 ½ years.
Rough scored, Fluitt’s buck was in the 150-inch-plus range.
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