Reggie Hammons, a 76-year-old retiree from Weyerhaeuser Co., out-voted his son, Toby, who wanted him to hunt a stand where a big buck had been showing up on camera during daylight hours. Dad, however, had other ideas. He was interested in hunting a different stand, one he had been hunting, and only wanted to shoot a doe for the freezer.
The buck had been showing up on camera on a neighboring piece of property and the wife of one of the members hunting that property had actually shot at the buck a few days before. After the deer appeared on camera a couple of days later, everybody knew she had missed and he was still around.
On Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, Hammons and his son, Toby, headed for the 150 acres in Lincoln Parish where they were to hunt that day.
“I told daddy that his best chance at getting a crack at the big buck would be on a particular stand but he insisted he wanted to hunt the one he was accustomed to hunting and only wanted to shoot a doe,” Toby said.
Crawling into his favorite stand, Hammons got settled in around 6:30 a.m. that morning. The box stand overlooks two shooting lanes where they had placed piles of rice bran and directly in front of the stand some 200 yards further was a creek with hardwoods.
“Not long after I got in the stand,” Hammons recalled, “a spike came out and began nibbling on the rice bran. Then a doe came out and began feeding when all of a sudden, both deer took off and left the lane in a hurry; I figured maybe there was a bigger deer they had seen or heard.”
Hammons gets his chance
A few seconds after the pair exited the lane, a big buck stepped out of the woods and took a couple of bites of rice bran and then started moving in the direction the spike and doe had run.
“I knew it was a good buck but I had no idea it was the big one we had on camera until he turned facing me and I saw the split brow tines the photos had shown this big one had,” he said. “Man, I started to get nervous by then when the buck turned broadside at around 90 yards.”
Getting the crosshairs of his scope behind the shoulder, Hammons hit the trigger on his Remington bolt action 30.06 and watched the deer take off running low to the ground.
“I felt like I had made a good shot on him but 10 minutes later when I walked down there, I could find no blood nor any hair, so I called Toby and told him I thought I had shot the big one,” Hammons said. “I had dropped Toby off at his stand and drove to my stand in his truck. He told me to come get him and when we got to where I had shot the buck and not finding anything, we started looking; I went down toward the creek to see if he had crossed while Toby went in the direction I told him the doe and spike had run.”
A special moment
It was only a matter of a few minutes until Toby let out a yell….”you got him!” The deer had only traveled 30 yards after the shot and was down for good.
“It was really special to be out hunting with your 76-year-old dad and getting to share in something like this,” Toby said.
The buck sported a rack of 15 points, had bases over 5 inches each and main beams of 23 inches with an inside spread of 16 ½ inches. The buck was taken to Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop to enter in that store’s big buck contest and the rack was measured at 170 3/8 inches.
“After hunting all these years,” said Hammons, “this was the biggest one I ever shot and it was special to be in the woods hunting with my son.”