One would think that for a fellow fighting COVID and meningitis, deer hunting would be the last thing on his mind. However, with his wife along for support, 49-year-old Monroe Roark of Jena settled into his box stand on his Winn Parish lease on Thanksgiving afternoon, Nov. 26, and dropped a monster 9-point buck.
“I work on an offshore rig for Chevron and I started feeling bad,” Roark said. “It was determined I had contracted COVID so they air-lifted me off the platform to the hospital where I stayed for four days. While there, it was also determined I also had meningitis.”
After leaving the hospital and returning home, he felt well enough to go out and check his trail cameras and found that a big buck he had been seeing on camera had been coming out during daylight hours. He talked his wife into reluctantly agreeing for him to go sit in his stand that afternoon. However, she insisted on going with him for support.
“When I left the hospital, the doctor inserted a pic-line in my arm so that I could receive medication three times a day. When the doctor started to insert it on my left arm, I asked him if it could go in my right arm instead. He wanted to know why and I told him I shoot from my left shoulder,” he laughed.
Hunting club ‘hit list’
Roark hunts on 2700 acre Beech Bottom hunting club in Winn Parish. The land features a mixture of creek bottoms and pine hills. The rules of the club are to only take bucks 4 ½ years old or older. The club had agreed that the buck on Roark’s camera would be on this season’s “hit list” if anyone got a chance at him.
Sitting in a box stand overlooking a gas line, there is a feeder out front with a food plot planted in wheat. Roark and his wife were enjoying the scenery when he looked up to see a big deer step out at 175 yards.
“I picked up my binoculars and saw it was a big buck, the one I had on camera,” Roark said. I laid the binoculars down and picked up my Weatherby 257 mag and got him in the scope. The buck was walking our way but then stopped at 155 yards and I watched him thrash a licking branch over his head before stopping to paw the ground making a scrape. He did that for probably two minutes and I was getting more nervous all the time. I told my wife I had to put the gun down for a minute so I could calm down.”
When the buck finally left the licking branch and scrape, he turned slightly giving Roark a quartering shot.
“I decided he was giving me a good enough angle so I hit the trigger and the buck hit the ground right there,” he said. “We gathered our stuff, climbed down and started walking toward him and he seemed to get bigger and bigger as we got closer.”
Roark’s big buck
The buck was a dandy estimated to be 5 ½ years old and sporting a main frame 8-point rack with a kicker off the left G2 antler. Main beams were each over 26 inches with a 17-inch inside spread. The most outstanding feature of the rack was the mass with bases over 5 inches with 4 inches at each measurement up the rack. Estimated weight was 225 pounds.
The buck was entered in the big buck contest at Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop with a score of 162 1/8 inches.