Hanks’ bucks total 300 inches of bone
If you don’t think stand placement is important, consider the fact that Hunter Hanks downed two trophy bucks — a 145-inch 8-point and a 155-inch 11-point — from the same old lean-to stand in Lincoln Parish last fall just fifteen days apart.
“I had been hunting on another tract of family land, but decided to put out a trail camera just to see what might be hanging around a 40-acre plot,” said Hanks, 23. “My dad had put up a lean-to stand on the plot several years ago but nobody ever hunted it. It was the only stand on the property, but it was situated in a good spot sitting on one ridge loaded with white oaks and allowed you to see another similar ridge.”
Prior to deciding to hunt the 40-acre plot, Hanks set up a single trail camera around the white oaks and got two photos of two big bucks together, one carrying an 8-point rack and the other sporting 11 points. Resisting setting up a feeder or spending too much time scouting the area, the photos told him what he needed to know to decide to hunt the old lean-to stand. And instead of disturbing the woods by driving into the area, Hanks parked at the edge of a cow pasture and walked to the stand.
“On the morning of Nov. 6, I was sitting on the stand when I heard a deer walking. It stepped out and I recognized it as one of the bucks. I put the scope on my .444 on him, hit the trigger and he dropped on the spot,” he said. “It was the 8-point which was later scored at 145 inches.”
Fast forward 15 days to Nov. 21, when Hanks once again slipped into the woods and climbed the old lean-to stand.
“It was a foggy morning that restricted what I could see but around 8:15, a doe came out to my right. While I was watching her, I heard another deer walking to my left but because of the fog and a thicket, I couldn’t tell at first what it was,” he said. “At about 50 yards, I was finally able to make out the deer’s feet and as it lowered his head to pick up an acorn, I saw a big rack of white horns and I knew it was the other buck I had on my camera.”
Hanks raised his rifle and found a small spot he could shoot through. He bleated at the deer, which stopped it, and Hanks fired. Incredibly, the buck just stood there.
“I found out later that my bullet had hit a small limb and had totally missed the deer. I began digging through my jacket pocket and found the only other bullet I had with me,” he said. “Before heading out to hunt, I had stopped at a store for breakfast and as I retrieved the bullet, a handful of change spilled out with the bullet and rattled down the steps of the lean-to. I thought it was all over but incredibly — because of the fog and thick brush — the buck just stood there. I was able to finally reload, find a small opening and hit the trigger. At the shot the buck took off.”
Climbing down from his stand, Hanks called his dad and told him to bring the 4-wheeler. However, he walked to where he thought the buck was standing and found no evidence he had hit the deer.
“I was really getting down on myself at having missed the big buck twice when I walked out behind my stand and found blood,” he continued.
When his dad arrived, they followed the trail only 60 yards and found the buck piled up against a big white oak.
The 11-point carried a 17 ¾-inch inside spread, had 5-inch bases and main beams 24 inches each. G2s approached 15 inches, and the deer scored 155 ⅜ inches of bone.
So Hanks pulled off quite a feat: Two hunts in two weeks, and 300 inches of bone from the same old lean-to stand.