Neal Richard, who grew up in Church Point and now lives in Houston, Texas, working in the oil and gas industry, was headed to his 500 acre lease in Natchitoches Parish on Nov. 19 to hang a stand for his son to hunt. Dressed in jogging pants and t-shirt with the temperature around 70 degrees, he was preparing to get in an afternoon hunt later after getting the stand hung.
“I was headed to my sister’s home in Saline to leave my kids when halfway there, it hit me; I had forgotten to bring my rifle,” Richard said. “I was just planning to do some work on the lease but I never hit the woods without my rifle. I called my sister, told her of my problem and she said I could borrow her son’s youth rifle, a little short Savage 7mm 08.”
There he was
Leaving his youngsters with his sister and driving away with the borrowed rifle, he headed for the lease situated in Black Lake bottom to find a place for his son’s stand. As he walked along, he remembered seeing the trail cam photos of a big buck from last year, a deer that had not shown up at all this season.
“I figured that maybe somebody else had gotten the buck since he was a no-show this season,” Richard said. “Then as I was walking along through the woods, I happened to look up and there, standing at 100 yards in a patch of briars was the big buck.”
The buck saw him and was about to take off, but Richard did something he has had success with stopping fleeing deer, mainly does and small bucks, but didn’t think it would work on a trophy buck.
“I whistled, expecting him to keep going, but to my surprise he stopped,” Richard said. “He just happened to stop in a small opening with only his neck in the clearing. I have taken deer and elk with neck shots so I wasn’t afraid to give it a try. The only problem was I was shooting a youth rifle I had never fired, I didn’t have on camo and I had a lock on stand on my back with nothing to prop my rifle on. I raised the rifle free handed, aimed for the neck, fired, and the buck dropped.”
Hurrying to the buck that was struggling to get up, Richard applied the coupe de grace to finish him off.
“I called my nephew to come help me load him up and it was all we could do to get him on my ATV,” he said.
The buck weighed at least 225 pounds, sported a symmetrical rack of 10 points with an inside spread of 19 1/8 inches. With long main beams and heavy mass throughout the rack, Richard took him to a taxidermist in Coushatta where the rack was measured at 158 7/8 inches.
After having to use a borrowed youth model rifle, shoot while packing a lock-on stand on his back, dressed in jogging pants and t-shirt with nothing to prop on for the shot, and dropping the trophy at 100 yards with an off-hand shot, Richard had something special to be thankful for during Thanksgiving this year.