Greg McMillen, a 40-year-old Swartz resident who owns his own pump service business, admits he had not deer hunted in 19 years until this season.
“I have two boys ages 10 and 12 and neither of them had ever had the experience of sitting in a deer stand with me, so I decided I’d give it a try this year,” McMillen said.
Hunting on a 200-acre lease he and his family have in Ouachita Parish south of Monroe, McMillen said that he had tried some duck hunting this year but hadn’t seen many ducks so he decided to set up a box stand and give deer hunting a try.
“I took my 10-year-old, Bennett, with me on the afternoon of Nov. 27 to go sit in the stand to see if we might see a buck,” he said. “I hadn’t hunted deer since 2001 and had purchased a Browning 300 win mag. I have an old Remington .270 and could never get it to zero in right so I decided on this new gun, one I thought I had zeroed in correctly.”
The stand sits at the edge of the woods and the property backs up to a field. Before hunting, McMillen had scattered some corn on the ground as an attractant.
“We were sitting there and were enjoying watching a couple of does come out and start feeding on the corn,” he said. “It was getting late, Bennett and I were gathering our gear to give up on seeing a buck, when I looked up a shooting lane and saw the body of a big deer. At first I couldn’t tell what it was but I got my rifle up and through the scope I could see antlers.”
McMillen told Bennett to cover his ears because he was about to shoot as the buck stood 75 yards away and was facing him.
“I aimed for what I could see, the front of the chest area, squeezed the trigger and the deer took off,” McMillen said. “We got down, walked over to where the deer was standing and found nothing, no blood nor hair. By then it had gotten dark so we gave up and went home, assuming I had missed.”
Checking his rifle the next day, McMillen found that it was shooting several inches to the left, adding credence to the probability of a clean miss. Two days later, he was back on the property and decided to check out the area where the buck was when he “missed.”
“The first thing I saw was buzzards and I also spotted a coyote in the area,” he said. “I walked through the woods to where I last saw him, the woods opened up again and there was what was left of my buck; he had only traveled 100 yards before falling. I have a Jack Russell Terrier that I feel sure could have found the deer for me but I didn’t think about it at the time because after all, I assumed I had missed.”
The buck was 6 ½ years old and was estimated to have weighed 225 pounds, carried a rack of 13 points with an inside spread of 17 inches, 5 inch bases and 24 inch main beams. Greg Hicks, official scorer for Buck Masters measured the buck with 162 4/8 inches while Simmons Sporting Goods scored the rack at 165 1/8 inches.
“I joked later that I was going to sell my rifles and just guide my two boys,” he said. “I’ll never get a chance at another one that big.”
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