Kisatchie National Forest gives up huge buck for Montgomery hunter

Giant was 8½ years old, appeared even bigger on trail-camera shots from earlier seasons

How high is too high?

For Dakota Carter of Montgomery, 20 feet up in an oak tree in a section of the Kisatchie National Forest was almost too high, but it wound up being just right.

Carter hung a climbing stand in a big oak about two weeks ago, and the first time he sat in it, the afternoon of Nov. 10, he killed a monster of a buck, an 11-pointer that grossed more than 170 inches.

“I made a mistake getting that high; I almost messed up,” Carter said after taking a huge 6×4 typical with one sticker point, a heavy racked buck with a 22½-inch inside spread. “I was so high, I had to shoot at a really bad angle.”

But Carter’s Remington 7mm Magnum was up to the test, and he found himself standing over his best-ever buck.

“I’m not a horn hunter; I just go for the meat,” Carter said. “I had no idea he was there. That was the first time I’d hunted that stand.

“I’d been hunting down the road a ways from there, but when I went in this year, that place was just too thick to hunt,” he said. “Me and a buddy went in this other place, scouting, and I hung a stand there on (Nov. 7). I found a ridge line, and I walked the ridge and found some scrapes and rubs, so I hung a stand in there.”

First times a charm

The first chance Carter had to hunt his new area, which was in the Winn Parish portion of the national forest, was the afternoon of Nov. 10. He spent most of the afternoon grunting off and on, and it was right after he finished a loud grunt that he heard a deer down the side of the ridge, toward a creek that ran at the bottom of it.

“There were three or four big scrapes in the bottom,” he said. “And it sounded like he was clearing out a scrape. Then, he went to the next one. I shot him standing in that scrape.”

A 50-yard shot would normally be a relatively easy one, but Carter was so high in the tree, shooting downhill, that his shot was at a terribly steep angle.

“I thought I had almost messed up,” he said, but with the buck quartering toward him, he picked out a spot on the brisket and touched off a shot. The bullet took the buck through one lung, ranged all the way through it and came out in one of the rear hams. The buck ran only 40 yards before piling up.

“When I got to him, I knew he was a good one, but my brother-in-law, Jordan Carpenter, when he came to help me get him out, he said, ‘You know what you’ve killed? A great big one.’”

The reveal

It wasn’t until later that he found out just how great the buck had once been.

“After I killed him, I found out one of my uncles had trail-camera photos of this buck all the way back to when it was 3½,” he said. “And two years ago, he looked like he was about 190 inches. That year, the G4 on the left side, which wasn’t there this year, was about eight inches long. On the right side, he had a G-5 that was two inches long, and he had a drop tine.

“(In the photos), he was big at 4½, maybe 160 inches, but at 6½, he really blew up.”