Fifty-nine-year-old Mike Chandler of Arcadia had a problem with a buck he was after on the 2,500 acre Simsboro Hunting Club in Lincoln Parish where he holds membership.
“I worked as a school bus driver for the Lincoln Parish school system which meant I was on the bus early mornings and late afternoons,” said Chandler. “I have had my eye on a good buck my trail camera had captured for the past four years. I had quite a few daylight photos of him but when he was out in front of my stand, I was on the school bus.”
Chandler recently retired from his job after 27 years of picking up and dropping off school kids which means he now has early mornings and late afternoons free to do what he loves to do, and that’s deer hunt.
“After I retired I now work mowing cemeteries in the area and I can pick and choose my hours to work, which lets me sit on my deer stand whenever I want to,” Chandler said.
The buck Chandler was after first showed up on his trail camera in 2016 and for the past four years, the buck appeared frequently enough for Chandler to recognize him.
“Over that period, the photos showed that his rack configuration stayed basically the same each year,” he said. “I noticed that each year the rack would be a little wider with a little more mass as he aged.”
Going the crossbow route
Having injured his back a year ago, Chandler was not able to shoot his bow so he decided to go the crossbow route. Visiting McKinney Outdoor Super Store in Ruston, Chandler was outfitted with an Excalibur crossbow with Bolt Cutter fixed broadheads, a rig with which he felt comfortable in shooting.
On the afternoon of Oct. 2, Chandler climbed into his lean-up stand with a shooting rail that overlooked a small opening between rows of young pines where he had scattered corn and rice bran.
“My stand is actually in the woods with the little opening between the pines. I felt a deer might feel more comfortable there in the woods than in a larger open area. Also,” he noted, “I don’t use feeders as I believe a mature buck will sometimes become leery about the feeder rather than just scattering feed on the ground. Some of my neighbors who hunt over feeders had never seen this buck on their cameras which led me to believe he felt more comfortable feeding from the ground where there were no feeders,” Chandler continued.
Sitting on his stand that afternoon, Chandler looked up at 6:15 to see three bucks emerging from the woods to begin nibbling on the corn and rice bran. He immediately recognized the buck he had been after as being one of the three.
“The other two were nice bucks but the one I was after was a better deer than the other two,” Chandler said. “I waited until he turned just right at 43 yards – I had a marker for 40 yards and he was just beyond that – so I touched the trigger and released the bolt.”
The quest is over
The buck backed up at the shot and then collapsed on the spot. Chandler was elated that his four year quest for this buck was finally over.
“When he hit the ground and after all these years of seeing him on camera and finally seeing him in the flesh, it’s hard to explain how I felt knowing I finally had him,” he said.
The buck with a symmetrical rack of 8 points had a measurement between the antlers of 19 ¼ inches with five inch bases and main beams of 23 inches each. Tipping the scales at 178 pounds, the buck was tentatively scored with a minimum of 140 inches of antler mass and was determined to be at least 6 ½ years old.
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