Round out your duck season right by targetting wood ducks using these “out of the box” tactics.
Mike Shirley was sitting a stand on a 680-acre piece of property in Red River Parish on Dec. 3 when a big buck walked out right beneath him. And he missed. Twice.
“The deer walked out so close, Dad shot and missed, and the deer ran 25 yards and my dad shot again and missed,” son Dennis Shirley said.
Two days later, the 195-inch buck was 75 yards from the same stand. Only this time, Dennis Shirley was holding a rifle. And he didn’t miss.
The buck was actually captured on a trail cam two years ago, when it was a mere mainframe 8-point.
“He had three stickers on one side and one sticker on the other,” Shreveport’s Shirley said. “He looks like a totally different deer now, but those stickers were the same.”
The deer had gone AWOL during the intervening time, never making an appearance in front of hunters or on trail cams.
And Mike Shirley had no clue that was the deer that had stepped out.
“He just knew it was a really good deer,” Dennis Shirley said.
After the double miss, Mike and Dennis Shirley figured the deer would never be seen again.
Then they checked their cameras on Dec. 4.
“We had a picture of him that night,” Dennis Shirley said.
The monster buck, which the elder Shirley only knew carried a huge growth of calcium, appeared unfazed by the experience earlier in the day.
So the stand was hunted Dec. 4 and Dec. 5 in hopes that it would appear again.
It was the evening of Dec. 5 when Dennis Shirley was on the stand, and he was having a good time.
“I had two nubbin bucks out feeding, and then two other bucks came out and started fighting (in front of the stand),” he said.
As evening darkness gathered, the sparring deer broke contact and one of the deer began looking back into the woods, walking back and forth.
That got Shirley’s attention, and he was getting ready for any eventuality when a big buck stepped out at just 75 yards. The hunter had no idea of the size of the rack because the light was failing, but there was no doubt it was a shooter.
“It looked liked his ears just went straight up,” he said. “I knew he had a lot of mass and he was big.”
Shirley quickly put the cross hairs of his 7 mm Magnum on the deer, and squeezed off a shot. The deer went down right there.
Normal hunting protocol calls for a wait of at least 30 minutes, but Shirley forgot about that.
“I waited about 2 seconds,” he laughed. “I got down, and the deer were still under the stand.”
He hurried to the downed buck, and was shocked at what he saw as the final light of the day failed.
“The first thing I saw was just massive horns on top of his head,” Shirley said. “I saw kickers coming out all over the place.
“I said, ‘Damn it.’ That’s the only way I could explain it.”
He hurried to get his father, and when they returned the Shirleys saw something amazing.
“There was a little 6-point about 4 yards from (the dead deer) walking up to him,” Dennis Shirley said.
When they had chased off the curious young deer, Mike Shirley confirmed what his son suspected.
“He said, ‘That’s him,’” Dennis Shirley said.
The deer had 20 scoreable points, although Dennis Shirley said there were a few other points adding to the palmated mass of antlers. The inside spread was a respectable but not astounding 16 inches, but Shirley said the outside spread showed the mass carried on the crown of antlers.
“The outside spread measured 22 inches,” Shirley explained. “The (diameter) measurement between the G1 and G2 on one side was 11 inches.”
Simons Sporting Goods green scored the deer at 195 5/8 inches Boone & Crockett.
And to make the kill even more special was the fact the 28-year-old Shirley had yet to kill a true wallhanger.
“I thanked (Mike Shirley) for missing more than he thanked me for killing him,” Dennis Shirley laughed.
Visit the Nikon Deer of the Year contest to see other bucks killed this season and post your own kills. But remember: You must be a registered member of this site to be eligible for prizes. If you aren’t already registered, click here to get started today!
JOIN THE CLUB, get unlimited access for $2.99/month
Become the most informed Sportsman you know, with a membership to the Louisiana Sportsman Magazine and LouisianaSportsman.com.