J.D. Smith of Farmerville took advantage of two privileges for which he qualifies. He deer hunted the morning of Oct. 12 on the special weekend reserved for military veterans, returned home at noon to cast his ballot and returned to his stand that afternoon to down a beautiful 10-point buck.
Smith, safety manager for two transportation companies, hunts on family land in Claiborne Parish. Smith, his wife, his father and step-mother hunt land located just north of Lake Claiborne. The particular plot he decided to hunt that day was a 70 acre tract of hardwoods the family owns.
“I was hunting a box stand that overlooks a 30-40 yard wide lane that we keep bush-hogged,” Smith said. “The lane crosses a creek and on the other side, I have a corn feeder as well as a pile of peanut butter-flavored rice bran. At the end of the lane some 160 yards away is a clear cut, an area where deer tend to lay up.”
His morning hunt produced nothing he wanted to shoot. Three does, two yearlings and two small 6-point bucks came to feed but since he had his mind on a big 10-point buck that had been coming to the feed, he held off to wait on the big buck.
“I was able to pattern this buck after trail cameras showed what he was doing. Every third day, he would come out between 6:15 and 6:30 to feed. Other days, he wouldn’t show up until between 11 p.m. and midnight. If his pattern held true,” Smith explained, “he should be showing up today during daylight hours.”
The right timing
After returning home to vote, Smith climbed into his stand around 3 p.m. It wasn’t long before he was seeing deer; several does and a small 6-point came to the rice bran. Then another doe came out and seemed nervous, constantly peering back into the woods.
“I knew something had her on edge and I kept my eye on the thicket next to the lane in the direction the doe was focused on,” Smith said. “In just a minute, right at 6:30, I saw a nice buck step out and I immediately knew it was the one I had been seeing on camera. This deer’s coat was quite a bit darker than the other deer I had on camera so I knew it was him.”
The buck headed straight for the pile of rice bran located about 100 yards from the stand and began feeding. Smith was able to ease his rifle, a Remington .308 bolt action, out the window waiting for a broad-side shot but as he clicked the safety on his rifle, the deer suddenly jerked his head up and looked directly in Smith’s direction.
“I knew after the click had alerted him that he might take off at any minute so I settled the crosshairs in the middle of his chest and squeezed the trigger,” Smith said. “The buck never took another step, dropping in his tracks right there.”
Smith was surprised when the scales revealed the buck weighed only 155 pounds but sported an impressive set of antlers. Carrying a symmetrical rack of 10 points with less than half an inch difference between the two sides, the inside spread was 16 ¾ inches wide with main beams over 20 inches. G2s were over 7 inches, G3s over 8 inches with bases measuring in excess of 4 inches each. He put the tape on the rack that revealed a measurement of 142 2/8 inches.