Nikki Gaspard had picked up a clue that culminated in her getting a chance at a big Bienville Parish buck. Five does came out to feed on corn and rice bran late every afternoon and the buck would follow them. However, trail cameras revealed he always came out after dark except on the afternoon of Jan. 23, when he stepped out at 5:30 while she was in her stand.
“This is a buck that first showed up on my trail cameras in 2017 and I actually got to see him last season but he went back into the thicket before I could get my rifle up,” said Gaspard.
She also had a nice 8-point on her trail cameras and concentrated her efforts to downing this buck and was successful when she shot him early in the season.
Gaspard lives near Quitman in the edge of Bienville Parish and belongs to Union Hunting Club, a 2500 acre plot the club leases from Weyerhaeuser in Bienville Parish.
The big buck’s posse
Climbing into her stand around 3:00 on the afternoon of Jan. 23, Gaspard was thinking about the big buck that tended to hang around with the five does, hoping he would finally show himself before dark. Her box stand overlooks four shooting lanes that sit in a mixture of thinned pines with thick brush growing up around the pines.
“Late that afternoon, the five does showed up right on schedule as they have been doing just about every time I hunt that stand,” Gaspard said. “From the trail cam photos I had, this buck seemed to see this bunch of does as his buddies; I had pictures of him feeding along with them after dark.
“They began feeding on the corn and rice bran when a couple of the does ran off. Another doe left and came back for another bite and I noticed this doe was looking back toward the woods. That’s when I saw what she was staring at. I could see antlers behind a pine and this big buck stepped out at 130 yards.”
Gaspard gets her chance
The next few seconds were nerve wracking for Gaspard as she got the scope on her 35 Whelan on the deer but was shaking so she had to lower the rifle, take a few deep breaths before finding him in her scope again. Fortunately, the buck was still standing there when she got the crosshairs on his shoulder and squeezed off a shot.
“When I shot, the buck took off across the shooting lane and I thought I heard him crash,” she said. “I usually wait awhile before leaving the stand to check on a deer I shot, but as it was getting late I decided to walk on down there to see if I could find blood. I was heart sick when there was no blood to be found.”
On the trail
Returning to camp, she waited for her boyfriend who was hunting on another stand. They went back down to where the deer was standing and could find no evidence she had hit the deer.
“I called Todd Moreau who has a blood trailing dog named Raven and we agreed to meet up the following morning to see if the dog could find a trail to follow,” Gaspard said. “Five minutes after the dog hit the trail, Raven led us to the buck which only traveled about 75 yards after being shot.”
The mature buck, estimated to be at least 5 ½ years old, carried a rack of 11 points with an inside spread of 19 1/8 inches and 6-inch bases and weighed in at 190 pounds. She took the buck to Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop to enter it in that store’s big buck contest and the rack was measured at 155 5/8 inches.
“Everybody on the club was hunting this buck,” said Gaspard, “and I feel blessed to be the one that finally got him.”