Jeremy Cooley, a 34-year-old paper mill employee from DeRidder, decided to put together a plan to see if he could waylay a big buck that was crossing his parent’s 5-acre patch of land 200 yards behind his house in Beauregard Parish. His plan worked to perfection on the morning of Oct. 20 when the big 13-point buck showed up and Cooley dropped him in his tracks.
“A neighbor who hunts on adjoining land had reported finding a big buck on his camera and mentioned it to me,” Cooley said. “A creek runs between the five acres my parents own and the property where the neighbor reported getting trail cam photos of the buck. I did some scouting and found where the deer had been crossing the creek from the neighbor’s property to our five acres. I had found a fresh scrape he had made after he crossed the creek so I put out a camera near the creek crossing and I started getting photos of him, all at night.”
A pattern was starting to develop of the buck’s meanderings as he would leave the neighbor’s property, cross the creek onto the Cooley’s five acres and head for a thick cut-over tract where deer, including receptive does, were likely bedding.
“I decided to give it a try on the morning of Oct. 20 and used my climbing stand to climb a tree that would give me a good look at the creek crossing and the hardwoods around the area,” Cooley said. “I had put out some corn in front of my stand to attract any deer that might come through.”
Cooley’s patterning pays off
Cooley had climbed into his stand around 6:00 that morning and an hour or so later, he heard a deer cross the creek and he got ready in case it was the buck.
“I began to see legs and could tell it was a deer,” he said. “When he got to within about 30 yards of me, I could see his head and realized it was the big buck I had on my camera. When he stepped into a clearing, I raised my shotgun – I was shooting my Winchester Super X-3 using 000 buckshot – pulled the trigger and he dropped right there. Man, I could have screamed I was so excited.”
Cooley had killed a few does on the 5-acre plot in years past but had never even seen a buck on the area. This buck sported a rack of 13 points with kickers on both G2s. Bases were approximately 5 inches each with an inside spread of 19 inches. He was estimated to be 4 ½ years old and weighed 180 pounds. The tale of the tape revealed the buck to have 150 inches of antler mass.
“I just got lucky because I happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Cooley said. “After getting him, I haven’t had an urge to go back because I’ll probably never match what I was able to do that morning.”