LeJeune drops the hammer on big 11-pointer
John LeJeune, by his own admission, is not a serious deer hunter.
Having sat on a stand less than 10 times this season, he didn’t do any early scouting of the family land across the road from his Pointe Coupee Parish home. He doesn’t plant food plots, nor does he ever use trail cameras to keep up with deer movement to target impressive bucks.
The family runs cattle on the property LeJeune hunts, and he occasionally goes to sit on his stand at the edge of a pasture that is adjoined by a patch of woods near a sugar cane field.
“When I go, I just wait to see what, if anything, comes out,” he said. “I like to be surprised rather than sit and wait on a big buck I might have seen on camera. That’s just not my way of deer hunting.”
While watching and waiting to see if anything would step out on the afternoon of Dec. 21, LeJeune got a shock when he saw the reflection of a big rack of antlers in the water of a slough some 65 yards from where he sat on his lean-to stand.
“I had attended a company Christmas dinner at noon that day, and when I got home I decided to go sit on my stand to see what might come out,” said LeJuene, an electrician by trade.
After sitting on his stand some two hours, at 5 pm he watched a doe walk out of the patch of woods — and since he hadn’t taken a deer all season, he decided to try for the doe.
“As I stood, turned to the side and looked for an opening where I could shoot the doe, something caught my eye — it was the reflection of a big set of antlers there in the slough,” he said. “So I forgot about the doe, and eased around where I could get a shot at the buck.”
LeJeune shoots a .35 Whelen, and when he left home for the afternoon hunt, he picked up a couple of rounds for the rifle, thinking he’d probably get only one shot — so the second round was strictly for insurance.
“I got my scope on the buck just standing there by the slough and shot. The buck just stood there, so I ejected the hull and slipped my other round in, aimed and shot again,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it; the buck continued to stand there and I assumed I had missed him twice.”
Deciding to climb down and investigate, LeJeune noticed the buck was nowhere in sight. Walking over to where the buck was standing when he shot, he wondered perhaps if his bullets had hit a sapling or if he had just completely missed.
To his surprise, the buck was piled up dead on the ground where it had been standing.
LeJeune had no idea about the quality of the deer he had shot, but as word began spreading he learned that a neighbor who has trail cameras out had pics of the buck.
“The neighbor asked what I planned to do with the rack, and I told him I’d probably just skull mount it. He said ‘Man, don’t do that; you don’t know what you have there.’ I took it to my taxidermist who scored it for me, and my buck’s rack didn’t compare with all the big racks in his shop,” LeJeune said. “He said those were all high-fence deer that cost hunters some big bucks. He asked me how much it cost me to hunt, and I told him about $30 a year for corn,” LeJeune said with a chuckle.
The buck sported 11 points on a heavy rack with an inside spread measuring 18 ½ inches, main beams of 23 inches and a weight of 200 pounds.
The buck was determined to be 5 ½ years old with a rack scoring 173 inches.