Sighting of small buck turns into St. Landry Parish monster deer

Buck green scores 166 inches Boone & Crockett.

Steve “Moonie” Chelette was excited when he headed to the woods on Friday (Dec. 16). The weather had turned nasty, with temperatures dropping and a drizzling rain setting in, and he had seen a small buck the day before and was making a move to try and cut it off.

“I had a ladder stand on the other side of property where I thought he was, and I went there looking for him,” Chelette said.

What showed up that afternoon turned out to be a monster 18-pointer that has been green scored at 166 2/8 inches Boone & Crockett.

Chelette (who goes by “moonie chelette” on the forum) climbed into his short ladder stand, the platform of which was no more than 10 feet off the ground, late on Friday afternoon and settled in to see if the little buck he saw the day before would make an appearance.

As 5 p.m. approached, he heard some noise but thought it was just the wind knocking down a limb.

And then he heard it again. Closer.

“After a little while I heard that noise getting closer,” Chelette said.

Soon he saw the source: A doe in some tall grass near the stand.

“I could see her running through that grass, and she turned back and ran right under my stand,” Chelette said.

The deer acted like it had no clue the hunter was there, and that clued Chelette into the possibility that it was being chased by a buck.

And then he heard some grunting, and knew for a fact there was a buck nearby.

“I heard another deer coming, and I got halfway ready (to take a shot),” Chelette said. “It was another doe.”

But he didn’t put his rifle down.

“The vocal grunting got closer and closer,” Chelette said.

The hunter was now pretty excited, and prepared to pop a shot off if the buck came into the open. He didn’t have to wait long.

“He popped out right under the stand,” Chelette said.

The buck was literally right there for the taking, but that presented a problem.

“I realized my scope is set up too high to see him,” Chelette said.

Although he wasn’t sure just how big the buck was, the quick glimpse told him it was bigger than anything he had ever put down in his long hunting career.

“I’ve killed a bunch of deer in my lifetime, and I knew it was bigger than any of them,” Chelette said.

So he did the only thing he could think of.

“When he passed by, I just barrel-aimed and threw a shot – and missed,” Chelette said.

The buck headed away from the stand, and the hunter was ready to empty his rifle.

“I said, ‘I don’t know how many shells it will take, but I know how many I’m prepared to use: All of them,’” Chelette laughed.

At about 50 yards, Chelette was finally able to get the crosshairs on the deer and put a round through the spine. When the deer tried to get back up, a second shot quickly dispatched it.

And then Chelette just sat there.

“I was nauseated,” he said.

Finally, he pulled his phone out and call his best friend, with whom he happens to live.

“I call my wife (Shelly) and said, ‘Bo, I just killed a big deer,’” Chelette said.

Shelly Chelette was a hunter herself before having children(in fact, the couple met while hunting), and was apparently a little put off by the fact that her husband hadn’t budged from the stand.

“She said, ‘Well, fool, hang up the phone and see what it is and call me back!’” Moonie Chelette said.

With his stomach lurching, Chelette clambered from the stand and was soon standing over the biggest deer he’d ever shot.

He was soon back on the phone so his wife could share the thrill of counting up the points.

“I started counting,” Chelette said. “I told her, ‘For sure, he’s got 16 (points) I can see without pickup up his head.’”

Ten tall mainframe points were arrayed around the rack, which sprang from bases that measured 7 inches around. Eight additional scorable points were bonuses, with most projecting from the brow tines.

Click here to see another view of the deer’s rack.

The celebration began in earnest when father-in-law Wayne Guillory and nephew Dakota Morain showed up to help drag the deer out of the muddy woods.

“I was nauseated for two days,” Chelette said with a laugh. “The second day I might have been nauseated because of how much I drank (the night before).”

Chelette said he had no clue the deer was in the area, but had heard a neighbor had seen trail-cam photos of a big buck. That neighbor has since shared the photos with Chelette.

“I had cameras out on my property, but not in that area,” Chelette said. “I didn’t know he was there.”

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About Andy Crawford 863 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.