Two clicks and a “BOOM” bring down 163-inch hammer

One hunter forgot to load his rifle; the other had a bum bullet in the chamber. When a big buck stepped out at 250 yards, he was probably too far away to hear the simultaneous “click…click” from both rifles. Still, 24-year-old Zach Shovan was able to quickly jack another bullet into the chamber and get off a shot having no idea he had hit the deer.

“I was hunting with a friend who has land in south Natchitoches Parish near the town of Flora. We had decided to walk into an area that was grown up, had not been bush hogged and hadn’t been hunted just to see what we might be able to see. There were no game cameras out in the area,” Shovan began.

The area where Shovan and his friend, Jason Aldredge, hunted was an overgrown area with lots of CRP land, thickets and heavy brush with an old 4-wheeler trail the only opening in the area. Shovan had hunted this plot of land in prior years, actually downing a nice 12-point buck there last season.

“We walked up to an old levee where we could see down the 4-wheeler trail. We got there about 5 o’clock on the afternoon of Nov. 9 and were standing together on the levee just looking down the old road. At about 5:15 or so, we saw a big deer step out into the road at about 250 yards. I couldn’t tell much about him except I could see his rack and knew it was a pretty good buck. That’s when we both raised our rifles to fire,” he said.

Incredibly, neither Shovan nor Aldredge got off a shot because of a misfire of one gun and an empty chamber on the other. Shovan quickly jacked another bullet into his gun and got off the shot. Then they waited, assuming he had probably missed and thinking maybe another deer would walk out before dark.

Shovan was shooting a gun he knew little about; it was a Mossberg bolt action .30-06 he had purchased only three days prior from a pawn shop.

“I got the gun for $229 and I really didn’t know how reliable it was. That is why we decided to wait on another deer because I figured I’d probably missed,” Shovan said.
After half an hour and darkness had set in, the pair walked down to where the deer was standing when the shot was fired and found where he took off but there was no sign of blood or hair. Shovan assumed he had missed but fortunately, he wasn’t ready to give up.

“We headed into the CRP stuff zigzagging our way and looking just in case I might have hit the deer when we walked up on a big pile of blood. We followed the blood trail to a water hole and as I was looking around there, my buddy who was off to the side hollered out ‘Here’s your deer and it’s a stud!’ The deer had gone into the water but came out and died on the edge of the water hole,” he said.

Stud is an appropriate word to describe Shovan’s buck. The rack was a main frame 8-point with one sticker, and had an inside spread of 23 ¼ inches with main beams over 26 inches each and bases some 5 ½ inches each. Estimated weight was 240 pounds.

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About Glynn Harris 444 Articles
Glynn Harris is a long-time outdoor writer from Ruston. He writes weekly outdoor columns for several north Louisiana newspapers, has magazine credits in a number of state and national magazines and broadcasts four outdoor radio broadcasts each week. He has won more than 50 writing and broadcasting awards during his 47 year career.