Duck hunt leads Ouachita teen to trophy Russell Sage whitetail

Thirteen-year-old Hunter Thompson of West Monroe was hunting the Russell Sage WMA on Dec. 3 when he killed this trophy buck.

Clouds of swarming mosquitoes and 73 degree weather may not sound like ideal deer hunting conditions, but for 13-year-old Hunter Thompson of West Monroe, it was perfect.

Hunter’s father, Johnny, was raised hunting the public lands around northeast Louisiana, and he’s taught each of his three sons to do the same. Russell Sage, Boeuf, Upper Ouachita and D’Arbonne National Wildlife Refuge have provided years of quality hunting for the family that spends time afield together.

On Dec. 3, a tip from Johnny’s nephew would prompt Thompson to concentrate his efforts on Russell Sage WMA for an afternoon hunt with his youngest son. The 38,000-acre tract located seven miles east of Monroe covers parts of Morehouse, Ouachita and Richland parishes and is one of the largest remaining hardwood tracts left in the lower Mississippi River floodplain.

A little help from family

While moving from one duck hole to another, the family member discovered an area littered with buck sign and immediately sent his uncle the location.

“When we finished lunch, Hunter and I loaded up and headed to the spot my nephew had shared with me using onX.”

OnX is a mapping app which allows hunters to see public and private lands, see boundaries and mark, customize and share waypoints. The area was covered in rubs and scrapes, making it easy to see a buck was spending time there.

“This was the first year I’d let Hunter use his climbing stand on his own, without me being nearby,” Thompson said. “I had worked with him on learning to use the climber by himself, a little at a time.”

The young Thompson eventually found a tree on his own, even though the area was almost void of decent climbing trees.

“That area was made up of a lot of smaller trees, but after I left for the spot I would be hunting, he was able to find one to climb,” Thompson said.

The only problem being, Hunter was only able to climb about five feet off the ground.

Calling up a trophy

Not long after settling in, Hunter decided to do some calling with his grunt call, and a few minutes later the buck appeared, staring Hunter square in the eyes due to his climber being so low.

The buck spooked and ran about 60 yards directly behind Hunter’s stand but stopped. Hunter slowly stood, turned to face the tree, shouldered his 35 Whelen and was able to get a good shot off. After receiving a phone call from Hunter, Johnny was so excited he decided to head straight to his son.

“I was hunting across a flooded brake from him, and instead of using the UTV and going around the water, I left everything and waded straight to him,” he said.

Hunter knew he had shot a buck, but initially thought it was 6-point. Once on the scene It didn’t take the elder Thompson long to discover the buck was much more than a 6-point.

Scoring 150 5/8, Hunter Thompson had taken the buck of a lifetime on public ground.