An arrow that fell off the bow string, not once but twice, didn’t prevent Doyline’s Wesley Miller from finally getting off a perfect shot on a Webster Parish buck, a deer that could be in contention for a state record for typical bucks taken with a bow.
Miller, a registered nurse who works at Pathway Rehabilitation Hospital in Bossier City, hunts on his family’s 300 acre plot near Dubberly, property that was devastated by a tornado that roared through the area in January 2020.
“We lost 40 acres of big oaks from the tornado, which left a tangled mess on the property; destruction that created a problem with trying to pinpoint the core area of a big buck we had on camera,” Miller said.
On Saturday, Nov. 28, Miller shot a doe with his rifle, a deer he had to track down. While searching for the doe, he discovered something that gave him hope that maybe he’d located the big buck’s home turf.
“While retrieving the doe, I was working my way through the tangled limbs and trees and I spotted a deer trail,” Miller said. “Upon further checking, there were some big rubs and scrapes along the trail, so I decided this would be a good place to set up to have a chance at this big buck.”
The following afternoon, Miller attached his climbing stand to a tree that would give him a good view of the newly found deer sign. Another thing that gave him hope is that while in his stand that afternoon, several does came by which suggested a buck would likely be in the area.
“The next morning, Nov. 30, I headed to the area early and mounted my stand before daylight,” he said. “A front had blown through and it was very windy that morning. I climbed to 29 feet up an oak thinking that by making sure I was scent-free and that high, a deer shouldn’t be alerted to my presence.”
A series of mishaps
At 9:30 a.m., Miller watched the buck he was after step out of one of the downed treetops and began walking in his direction. Within moments, a series of mishaps almost cost him a chance at the buck.
“I had everything in my favor as the buck made his way through the woods and I spied a small hole in the foliage and was prepared to release my arrow when the buck stepped into the hole. However,” Miller said, “when I tried to pull my bow back, my arrow fell off the bow string. By then, the buck had passed through that opening so I spied the next opening; I was ready.
“However, when I pulled back on my bow, the arrow fell off the string again and made some noise that alerted the buck. However with the high winds and my being scent-free, I watched the buck just standing there looking around. By then he had moved to my right and it is difficult to turn your body to the right when shooting a bow, especially when wearing a safety harness. I had to get down on one knee, pull back the bow again and by then the buck was standing with a six-inch hole exposing the area behind his shoulder when I released my arrow.”
Trophy bow kill
Miller watched the deer run toward an old logging road and then he just stopped and stood there.
“I was getting really nervous thinking maybe I had made a bad shot when the buck began wobbling and just tipped over,” Miller said. “I stayed in my stand trying to calm down and made a few phone calls. When I got down, I walked back to my 4-wheeler taking my climbing stand and gear before going to check on the deer. I just wanted to be sure he was down for good.”
The deer was dead when Miller got to him and he found a monster of a buck on the ground. The rack was a main frame 12-point with a kicker. Inside spread was 20 inches, main beams were 24 and 25 inches with bases of five inches. The 4 ½-year-old buck weighed 186 pounds with measurements of the symmetrical rack being an even 178 inches.
A check of the state big game records reveal that the largest typical bow-killed buck was taken by Shannon Presley in 1981, a buck that measured 175 inches. Miller’s buck, once the drying period is over, could challenge for the record. Only time will tell.