Bucks show up for hunters as the rut was under way.
For centuries, fathers and sons have shared hunting experiences that become family folklore – the stories that are told around the Sunday dinner table, at reunions, at holiday time.
The Arnaud family of Breaux Bridge now has a story that might exceed those boundaries; it might even enter into the regional, if not statewide, consciousness.
That’s because on Dec. 11 both Andrew Arnaud Jr. and son Andrew Arnaud III (aka T-Drew,) bagged a pair of trophy bucks on the same piece of property and from the same box stand.
And as a kicker, each deer was the largest either man had killed in more than a collective half century of hunting.
The action took place on a 1,400-acre tract the father/son combo hunts near Winnfield. Arnaud Jr.’s deer was killed about 8:15 a.m. and it was a monster — totaling 11 points, weighing 155 pounds and scoring 140 ⅝ inches Boone & Crockett. It had a 16 ½-inch inside spread and 22-inch main beams.
T-Drew’s buck came later in the day, just before dusk, long after his father had cleared the box stand. And his buck, according to the elder Arnaud “made mine look small.”
That second buck was a 13-point that was green scored at 155 ⅝ inches. It had a 19 ½-inch inside spread, and its right beam measured a whopping 23 ¼ inches. At the base, the right side measured 5 inches in circumference and it carried to the top of the bone, with the tip coming in at 4 5/8 inches around. The deer weighed 250 pounds.
The Arnauds figured Dec. 11 would be a great day for hunting. A hard freeze had moved through the evening before, and father and son were in the field at daybreak on the day of the hunt.
The 53-year-old Arnaud Jr. said the temperature was about 25 degrees that morning when four does came into a pipeline clearing about 60 yards away from his stand.
“I knew the rut was on, and when those four came out I looked at them for a while, and then lead doe stopped and turned around to look behind her back into the trees,” he said. “A minute later, that’s when the buck came out. He was trotting after them.”
The buck gave him a good look, and Arnaud Jr.’s shot with his Remington .270 was true. He’s used the same 7400 automatic for 30 years, and hasn’t missed many with the gun, T-Drew said.
With his daily buck bagged, the elder Arnaud decided to hunt pigs elsewhere on the property later that day, which gave 28-year-old T-Drew his shot in the prime stand.
He saw a spike earlier in the afternoon hunt, and was ready to call it a day as night began to fall. He began to send a text message to his father, and then the biggest buck he had ever seen entered the pipeline clearing.
“We had been hunting some scrapes, and had seen a lot of deer in that area,” T-Drew said. “Where my dad had killed his deer earlier, there was a lot of blood. Well, this other buck came out and when he smelled the blood, he got real low to the ground and started snorting and blowing. He was about 170 yards away, but when I put my scope on him it looked like a moose.”
That’s when T-Drew squeezed the trigger on his Remington .270 bolt-ction rifle.
“I got excited, and I accidentally tore the curtain on my dad’s stand,” he explained. “But the buck turned to his left when I was about to shoot, so when I did it went through his lungs.
“It happened so fast. I sent the text and then like seven seconds later I shot. My dad said when he got the text, he heard the gunshot right at the same time. That’s how quick it happened.”
It was the first buck T-Drew had killed in 14 years, though other bucks have been harvested recently in the same spot as the twin killing on Dec. 11. In fact, T-Drew returned the next day and killed a 9-point out of the same stand.
Both Arnauds credited their participation in the DMAP program as helping aid their recent hunting successes.
“We’ve been managing deer for a long time, and it’s finally started to pay off,” T-Drew said.
“We have a club on one side of us and some private land on the other,” Arnaud Jr. said. “I think they started managing theirs, too, so it’s helped the deer in that area have a chance to grow up. There’s some nice quality deer there now.”
The reality of killing the two biggest bucks of their lives on the same day isn’t lost on either Arnaud, both of whom work as plumbers in Breaux Bridge.
“The chances of us doing this are very slim,” Arnaud Jr. acknowledged. “It’s very rare that we would both kill these quality deer on the same day. And to come from the same area, from the same stand? That makes it even more special.
“I’ve hunted there for 22 years and I’ve killed some good ones, but nothing like these two.”
“It’s like something you’d see on TV,” he said.
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