Rachel Pepper and her husband Michael are serious deer hunters. The duo, along with her dad and several friends, hunt on approximately 2,000 acres in Webster Parish – land they lease along with a 20 acre parcel they own.
“We invest a lot of time, effort and funds in managing our deer and we try to develop a profile on as many of the bucks as we can that hang out on the club,” Rachel said. “Using trail cameras along with actual sightings, we keep a list of each buck, giving some of them names and keeping up with them year to year.
“One particular buck had his right eye injured as a 2 ½-year-old and we gave him the name of ‘Lefty.’”
Last year, Rachel had several opportunities to take down the big buck but she didn’t think he’d reached his potential.
“I shot a good buck Lefty was running with last season but decided to give him another year; by this season he’d be 5 ½ years old and probably wouldn’t improve any more,” she said.
The season opener
On Tuesday, Oct. 1, bow season opened in north Louisiana and in spite of blistering heat that approached triple digits, Rachel decided to crawl into her lock-on stand to see if Lefty would show up.
“I had been patterning him for the last few weeks and he’d come out with some other deer around 3:30 in the afternoon to feed on the corn we kept out,” Rachel said. “I felt like I needed to be in my stand an hour or so before he showed up and I got settled into my stand 30 feet high to wait him out.”
Before climbing into her stand, she had made sure there was plenty of corn scattered around to attract deer and sure enough, not long after mounting her stand, deer began to show up.
“We work hard on scent control and my stand is located down wind from where the deer usually appear,” she said. “I’m high enough with very little breeze blowing so I felt comfortable they wouldn’t detect my scent.”
Rachel was shooting her Mathews Z-7 bow and Easton arrows tipped with Rage Hypodermic broadheads.
Lefty shows up
First to appear was a group of eight does and they seemed oblivious to her being there. Next, an 8-point buck came out and he was followed by Lefty and another 8-point buck. While they were milling around the scattered corn, yet another 8-point came out of the thicket. She is looking at three 8-point bucks along with Lefty who sported 9 points.
“There were three does between me and Lefty and I kept my eye on the does to see if they detected anything,” Rachel said. “They gave no evidence of being alarmed so I drew my bow. When they moved off, Lefty stood there broadside at 18 yards and I released my arrow. He whirled around and I could see he was bleeding good as he ran into a thicket; I felt I had made a good shot.”
Calling her husband and her dad, they came to help and found Lefty piled up in the thicket; he had only traveled 75 yards after the arrow hit him.
The buck, 5 ½ years old, sported 9 points with an inside spread of 18 ¼ inches, main beams 22 inches and he tipped the scales at 178 pounds.