A big 10-point buck pressed his luck one time too many on the afternoon of October 1, opening day of archery season in most of Louisiana, and 33-year-old Dustin Clouatre, a St. Amant insurance agent, dropped him at 40 yards with his crossbow.
The saga began the day before the season opened when Clouatre drove his side-by-side to a food plot on a 3000 acre private lease in East Baton Rouge Parish.
“We feed just about every day so I went out that afternoon to fill the feeders and put out rice bran,” Clouatre said. “As I returned to my side-by-side and sat down preparing to leave, I looked up and this big buck, one we have had on camera a few times, emerged from the thicket and began feeding on the rice bran I had just put out.
“I always have my camera with me and was able to video him the whole time as he nibbled at the rice bran before he seemed to get suspicious and headed back the way he had come. I couldn’t believe that he showed up so soon after I put out the feed.”
Targeting the buck
Archery season opened the next day and he and a hunting buddy, Kyle, headed out for an afternoon hunt. As they topped a hill near where the feed had been placed around 4:00, they were surprised to see the buck at the rice bran pile. When he saw the vehicle approaching, the buck ran back into the thicket.
“I usually hunt from my bow stand which was next to the food plot, so I told Kyle to drop me off at a box stand on the hill because if I went to my bow stand, I’d have to cross where the deer had been feeding,” said Clouatre, who hunts with his Raven crossbow with Raven bolts topped off with G-5 broadheads.
An hour after settling into the box stand, Clouatre looked up and to his surprise, here came the buck, one that obviously had a taste for rice bran, and began chowing down on the bran.
“I was surprised to see him there once again, the third time in two days, and I got a bead on him and hit the trigger,” he said. “When I did, the buck bolted and I realized I’d shot just under him; the fletching on the bolt seemed to be messed up because it made sort of a ‘whoopy do’ when I shot.”
Rice bran on the brain
Sitting in the stand for another hour, Clouatre felt that he had run out of chances to get his first buck with his crossbow. To his surprise, however, here came the buck once again apparently craving another taste of rice bran. This time, the bolt flew true and the buck dropped in its tracks.
“I was thrilled to get him but was a bit disappointed that he didn’t run because I have blood trailing dogs and would have enjoyed watching them find him,” he said.
The buck was taken to camp where the camp scorer, Glen Redd, put the tape on the rack and measured the 10-point as having 145 4/8 inches of antler mass. The rack was impressive in that the bases were over 5 inches each, main beams were near 20 inches each with an inside spread of 16 4/8 inches. The 3 ½-year-old buck tipped the scales at 180 pounds.
“I would have liked to see what he might develop into in another year or two but with his obviously having a death wish, he probably wouldn’t have lived that long,” Clouatre said.
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