Calhoun’s buck green-scored 172 inches of bone
Zack Calhoun had a decision to make when a big buck he had on camera last year sported a rack that was messed up on one side. Should he take it, or give the buck one more year to see what would happen. Ultimately, he let it pass — which resulted in an impressive 12-pointer this year that green-scored 172 inches of bone.
“I had this buck on camera last year,” said Calhoun, 30, of Vidalia. “One side of his antlers looked impressive, while the other side had apparently been damaged while in velvet. It was really messed up, and some friends and I studied the photos to see if it was a cull buck that needed to be removed. We finally agreed I would give him another year to see what he looked like a year down the road and I’m glad we did.
“He turned out to be really impressive.”
The land Calhoun hunts is family property in Concordia Parish, which features a lot of hardwoods and palmetto. A portion of the property has been planted in CRP, and this season Calhoun hunted a box stand in the CRP because he had killed several good deer over the years in that area. But this year, game cameras showed deer movement only at night, with no photos of the big buck.
Calhoun decided that the deer had found a new core area and was hesitant to move out of it. A white oak ridge was located some 300 yards from his stand, so Calhoun placed a camera there and got a photo of the buck the first night it was out — so he knew where the deer was bedding down.
“There is a lean-to stand on the ridge, and the first time I hunted the lean-to, I actually saw the buck but the wind was wrong, he winded me and I knew I’d never have a chance at him from that stand,” Calhoun said. “My buddy has a short tripod stand that can be moved, so I borrowed it and put it up on the end of an old road that would favor a north wind.
“I felt this would give me my best chance at the buck.”
Calhoun hunted the tripod with no sighting of the deer one time, before work obligations kept him off the stand for a week. But on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 8, he got back on the tripod around 2:45 with the wind favoring his location. At 4:30, Calhoun saw movement in the palmettos, and identified the buck he’d been after. As the deer stepped onto the old road at 130 yards, he placed the crosshairs of his .300 Win-Mag on the buck’s vitals and squeezed the trigger. The big deer dropped and dragged itself into the palmettos, where it died only a few yards away.
The big buck weighed 220 pounds, and had a rack containing 12 points with an inside spread of 16 ½ inches. Main beams were 24 and 26 inches, but the most impressive thing about the rack was the mass. Measuring nearly 6 inches at the base, circumference near the end of the rack also measured more than 6 inches. The rack was rough-scored at 172 2/8 inches of bone.
“He exceeded everybody’s expectations in a year. I could have shot him last year thinking he was a cull buck but believing he had good genetics, I waited and I’m glad I did,” Calhoun said. “He came back with a vengeance.”