Dustin Brister arrowed a fine buck in Franklin Parish on Oct. 2. However, he met serious challenges when attempting to retrieve his 10-pointer. The explanation follows.
Brister, 46, lives in Ruston and works in medical sales. He and his brother Chris purchased 450 acres of land near Fort Necessity 12 years ago and this plot of land has become their go-to spot for deer hunting.
“We had this buck on camera for the past few years and Chris’ 9-year-old son, Mayes, looked at the photos and named the deer ‘Bucky’,” Brister said.
On the hunt
On the afternoon of Oct. 2, Brister decided this would be a good time to see if Bucky might make a showing. The wind was just right for where he had hung his saddle stand. An uncut soybean field bordered the property and Brister had found a deer trail he described as almost like a cow trail leading to the soybean field. It was obvious that deer were taking advantage of the buffet the soybeans provided.
“Before getting into my stand with my bow — I shoot a Matthews Halon bow, Full Metal Jacket arrow tipped with Rage 2 broadhead — I scattered some soybeans on the ground along the trail,” Brister said. “I got on the stand around 4:45 and got ready.
“I was starting to get discouraged because from the time I crawled into the stand until 7:00, I had not seen a thing. Then, just before giving up, I caught movement along the trail and here came a 7-point buck that Bucky had been traveling with. Right behind the 7-point came Bucky.”
Getting the shot
The two bucks headed for the soybeans he had placed on the ground and the smaller buck stood broadside and Brister ranged him at 27 yards. Bucky stood facing him, not offering the shot he wanted.
“Bucky bumped the 7-point and as he did, he turned broadside to me and I drew my bow,” Brister said. “Before I could shoot, he gave me an angling shot and I took it at about 29 yards. I heard a solid ‘thump’ and felt I had made a good shot as the deer took off running.”
Climbing down from his stand, Brister went to the spot where the deer was standing and found a great deal of bubbly blood, indicating a lung shot. He felt confident he’d find the buck piled up not far away. That, however, was not the case.
Across the creek
Since it was getting late and he could see the blood trail leading through a thicket and straight to a creek, he decided to back out and call a friend to help in the search.
“We followed the blood trail to the creek and it was obvious the deer had crossed the creek,” Brister said. “I took a GPS reading and since the creek was too wide and deep, we drove around to the other side and found where he had crossed. The buck ran about 50 yards, turned and crossed the creek again, which meant we had to drive back around to the other side.”
Brister called his friend John Brown, who manages the property for the Bristers, and Brown suggested they call Brian Rieger who had a blood trailing dog. Reiger didn’t get there until around 11 that night, but his dog picked up the trail that, once again, led to the creek.
Incredibly, the deer had crossed the creek for a third time.
“When the dog stopped, Reiger told me he bet the deer was dead and lying in the creek,” Brister said. “We shined a light and sure enough, the buck had crossed to the other side but had died in the shallows along the far bank.”
By midnight, the buck was finally transported to camp where measurements were made. The rack sported 10 points with heavy bases of five and six inches. Inside spread was 18 inches, main beams were 21 and 22 inches and the buck was determined to be 5 ½ years old. His estimated weight was 235 pounds. The rack was scored at 148 4/8 inches.
Shooting the deer was easy. Retrieving him was anything but.
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