Collin Riddle of Marksville is used to being behind a video camera when a big buck walks up, but the things he learned looking through a viewfinder certainly did him well when he found himself looking through the peep sights on a compound bow last month.
Riddle, a 22-year-old videographer for On The Road Outdoors, a television show on the Outdoor Channel, was hunting family land near Spring Bayou WMA in Avoyelles Parish the afternoon of Oct. 10, hoping a big buck he had in trail-camera photos might show up.
The big buck never showed, but an even bigger one did, and at 20 yards, Riddle put a Dead Ringer arrow and broadhead from his Mathews bow through the big buck. When he found it the next day, he found himself standing over a 22-inch, 10-point typical that scored around 158 Boone & Crockett Club points.
“I had a big buck on camera around a corn pile about that time, but this deer, it was the first time he showed up on our property,” Riddle said. “I had a lock-on stand about 25 feet up in a tree, far away from the corn pile, where I thought he might be coming in, where I thought I might catch him in the daytime. He was always on the trail camera at night.”
A better option
Riddle had found plenty of buck sign along the trail where he hung the stand, but the deer he was targeting wasn’t the first one to show up the afternoon of Oct. 10 when he took his stand. Between 3 and 4 p.m., a 4-point buck passed through, and about 2½ hours later, he caught a glimpse of antlers easing through a thicket. It took the buck 15 minutes to ease out from behind a tree to where Riddle could get a better look. He noticed a second big deer behind the one that was easing into range, but he concentrated on the first one.
“He was broadside at 20 yards, a perfect shot,” Riddle said. “I thought it was the (buck in trail-cam photos) until I found him. That deer looked like this one, but this one was a lot wider.”
The search is on
Riddle backed out of the area once he fired and knew he’d hit the deer, at around 6:45 p.m. He came back the next day with a dog belonging to a cousin, but although the dog hit the trail, he didn’t follow it far.
“We looked the whole next morning. My cousin’s dog did good, but it was a puppy, and it seemed like he got bored,” said Riddle, who called someone he knew with a blood-trailing dog.
“I backed out of there and waited for the other dog. It ran straight to him.”
Riddle said the buck, shot through one lung because of the sharp, downward angle of the shot, made it 2 miles before it piled up and died. That’s when Riddle got a second, better look at the buck and realized it wasn’t the deer he had on the trail camera, but a bigger, wider buck.
“I was worried that I wasn’t going to find it,” he said. “When I got to him, it was a relief. I didn’t know if we’d find him or not.”
Riddle, who has filmed deer close to 200 inches being killed, said the 158-inch buck is his biggest, “by far.”