The Final Count

There are some fine deer killed in Louisiana’s forests each year. Here are some of this season’s best.

Deer hunting isn’t really about racks. Well, it isn’t all about antlers.

There’s meat, enjoyment of nature and the thrill of outsmarting one of God’s greatest creations.

But not many people tell stories about getting an adrenaline rush looking at a skillet-smooth head and missing that big nanny at 10 yards.

No, hunters reminisce around campfires about the big, wily bucks that slipped past them without presenting a single clean shot, how they could see racks a mile wide seemingly float through the woods with no bucks attached, how they shot deer while peering through quivering scopes only to find scattered drops of blood that petered out after several hours, or how they couldn’t take their eyes off the racks and apparently shot right through the inside spreads.

The best way to stop the ceaseless monologues about the big ones that got away, however, is to tell how you outwitted a genuine trophy.

And there are many such stories every year in Louisiana, so we decided to put together a smattering of them.

Here are the accounts of some of the biggest-racked deer killed in Louisiana during the 2002-03 season.


Horseshoe Man Scores

Bruce Cooke’s hunting buddies call him the Horseshoe Man because of his tendency to kill bucks.

Well Cooke must have shined up his horseshoe before hunting Thistlethwaite Wildlife Management Area on Jan. 3.

The Lafayette hunter had taken the entire New Year’s week off, hoping to spend a lot of time on the management area that he has hunted regularly since the late 1980s. The weather, however, turned ugly and flooded the property, so Cooke decided to hunt with his 14-year-old son Alex in Mississippi.

After he and Alex had both killed bucks, Cooke called home to check on conditions at Thistlethwaite.

He learned that his brother Mark hadn’t been out because of the weather.

Cooke returned home Jan. 2 to prod his brother on to take advantage of Thistlethwaite’s annual muzzleloader-only hunt. The two decided to try a new area on the WMA that they had found at the end of the 2001-02 season.

“I’ve killed six bucks out of Thistlethwaite. I killed five out of one tree,” Cooke said. “Sooner or a later, my little honey hole got shot out, and people had found out about it.”

So the two decided to abandon their formerly productive area for the new spot.

But they didn’t get in any hurry to get in their stands that Jan. 3 morning.

“Almost all of the bucks I’ve killed have been between 9 and 11 a.m.,” Cooke said.

So they eased in the woods at daylight and walked the 1 1/2 miles into their spot, making it onto their stands by 8 a.m.

Cooke was overlooking a intersection of trails.

“I had found some pretty big tracks,” he said.

There wasn’t any other buck sign in the area, but Cooke was OK with that.

“We were basically meat hunting,” he said.

After climbing up to 25 or 30 feet, Cooke settled in for the hunt.

As time wore on, the hunter began to wish he had paid more attention to buck sign.

“Sometimes I talk to myself,” he said. “I was telling myself, ‘Where in the hell do these guys kill those big Thistlethwaite bucks? I really wish I could see one of those true monsters.’”

He had placed three Tink’s scent bombs, but he was unsure if he was in the right place.

By 10 a.m., however, thoughts of massive racks faded, and Cooke drifted into a catnap.

He woke up a few minutes later and again thought about bucks, but this time he gave himself a pep talk.

“I said to myself, ‘Everything’s perfect today. The wind’s right. It’s cool,’” he said.

And with that he whipped out his grunt call, moved the selector to the doe option and put out a few doe bleats.

“I swear it wasn’t 15 minutes later that I saw some tine movement right in front of me,” Cooke said.

Antlers were moving through the palmettos, and every now and then Cooke could see a buck’s head pop up as the deer looked over the understory.

He knew this was a big deer.

“I could see his rack from 100 yards. I didn’t know how big he was … but I knew that if I killed this buck it was going on the wall,” Cooke said.

The buck moved closer, and then started circling until he was about 75 out.

“At 75 yards, he disappeared,” Cooke said. “He just vanished.”

He scanned the palmetto-covered forest floor intently, and moments later caught movement out of the corner of his left eye.

“I saw a brown blur,” Cooke said, not believing that the buck could have slipped that far without being seen.

It hadn’t; a minute or two later, the buck’s head once again rose from the palmettoes, and the deer began circling again.

“I’m pretty sure he was running a doe,” Cooke said.

The next view of the deer was at about 65 yards, and by this time Cooke decided he had to take whatever shot he was offered.

“I said, ‘There’s no way I can grunt him back (if he moved away) because he’s on the real thing,’” he said.

So Cooke placed the crosshairs on the only place he could see clearly — the buck’s neck.

When the smoke from his shot cleared, the buck was gone.

“I didn’t hear him run, so I thought I had flattened him,” he said.

And then the buck stuck its head out of the palmettoes again.

“I kept thinking, ‘He’s going to fall,’ and then I realized that I had missed,” Cooke said. “Right then, panic set in.”

This is where the horseshoe came into play.

“The buck was still walking around looking and circling,” Cooke said.

The hunter quickly found an easy loader from his coveralls pocket and placed the powder pellets in the bore.

He then carefully pushed his bullet into the barrel, whipped the ramrod out and seated the bullet.

The whole time, the buck was moving around trying to find the doe it had been chasing.

“I realized that once he got a whiff of that doe, he was gone,” Cooke said.

So he grabbed his grunt and bleated four strong notes.

“He wheeled around and came right at me,” Cooke explained.

And then he really panicked.

“I didn’t have another primer,” he said. “I knew where they were — in my pack that I was sitting on.”

So he had to stand up and snatch the pack out from under him, dig out a primer and place it on the nipple.

Unfortunately, he had set the pack on top of his gun, so he had to move again to get it out of the way.

As he brought up the rifle for the second shot, he knocked his ramrod — which he had forgotten to put back in its place under the barrel — off the stand, and it smashed to the ground.

The buck froze, looking in the direction of Cooke’s stand.

The Knight rifle was quickly brought to bear, and Cooke placed a slug right through the deer’s chest.

The buck dropped, but thrashed about, and Cooke worried that it would get up and run away.

“I put some more pellets and a bullet in the rifle, but I didn’t have my rod,” he said. “It was on the ground.”

When he finally climbed down, the buck was still trying to get up, so Cooke reloaded and put a second bullet through its chest to finish the animal off.

“I grabbed him up out of the mud and immediately got weak,” he said.

The rack was massive. He quickly counted 15 points. The rack of the 235-pound buck was a mainframe 12-point with three kickers.

The bases measured almost 5 1/2 inches around.

It greenscored a gross 171 6/8 B&C, with a green net score of 158 6/8.


The Johnsongrass Buck

An early morning wood duck hunt had been productive for buddies Jeremy Myers and David Fontenot, with each killing their two birds on land owned by Myers’ grandfather in St. Landry Parish.

While the two men were walking back from the duck hunt, they saw a big buck standing with a doe in a field overgrown with johnsongrass.

The hunters didn’t give their ducks another thought, hurrying away to make plans for bagging that buck.

Myers said a GPS owned by Broussard provides best times for hunting and fishing, so they consulted it as soon as possible. They discovered that between 2:30 and 4:30 that afternoon was supposed to be when deer were on the move.

“At 2 p.m., I got my tree climber and set it up on the edge of the field,” Myers said.

The next hour passed uneventfully, but he was rewarded for his patience at 3 p.m.

“The doe stands up in the field and starts stretching,” the hunter said.

Myers’ first thought was that the buck might be laid up with the doe, which was only about 80 yards away.

When he had repositioned himself to bring his scope to bear, the doe was gone.

In an effort to figure out exactly where the deer had lain down again, Myers grabbed his grunt call.

“When I hit that second note, all I saw was rack moving,” he said.

The buck was right there, with its antlers sticking up above the johnsongrass, cleverly camouflaged among some taller weeds.

“I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it, but there were a few dead blood weeds sticking up, and he was right there in those weeds like he knew his horns were higher than the grass,” Myers said.

The scope on his .270 was quickly put to use, and he clearly saw the buck — or at least a part of it.

“All I saw was horns and ears and about 2 or 3 inches of his neck,” Myers said.

The hunter quickly weighed his options, and then he placed the crosshairs on the buck’s neck and squeezed the trigger.

“I figured that was my only shot,” he said.

The buck disappeared, but he couldn’t be sure what happened. The doe hadn’t jumped and run as anticipated.

Myers waited 10 or 15 minutes, but finally couldn’t handle the suspense any longer.

“When I got halfway there, that doe jumped up and ran off,” he said.

The buck had died in its bedding area, with Myers’ bullet passing through its spine and lodging inside its skull.

“I just started screaming,” he said.

And he should have.

The buck’s antlers were massive, with the shorter main beam stretching 24 1/2 inches.

The inside spread was 20 7/8 inches, and the bases were thick enough to make it difficult to put his hands around.

There were 11 points on the frame, with two kickers protruding from the right G2.

It was estimated to score about 150 B&C.

The most amazing thing of all was that Myers walked right by the bedded deer on the way to his stand site.

“He was 20 yards from the road I walked in on,” the hunter said.


Public-Land 10-Pointers

Tony Fontenot has long been a meat hunter.

“I hunt public land, and isn’t that what you’re supposed to do — shoot anything that you see?” the Monroe hunter said.

That philosophy hadn’t changed when the 2002-03 season began.

Fontenot killed the first deer that walked close enough — a 4-point.

Then he stuck a 6-point that wandered too close to his stand site on Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area.

And when a 15-inch 8-point walked by the same site on Thanksgiving Day, Fontenot swatted it for his third kill of the season.

“I thought I had killed the biggest deer of my life,” he said of that third deer.

But he was back in his stand, in the same tree, on Dec. 23 to make a short, before-work hunt because a front was pushing through.

“I had read a couple of articles about how deer will gorge themselves before a front moves through,” Fontenot said.

About 9 a.m., when he was really needing to climb out of the tree and go to work, he heard some movement in a nearby thicket about 60 yards away.

“I saw legs slipping through the brush,” he said.

Finally, Fontenot found the deer’s head.

“When I caught movement of his head, I saw horns,” he said.

He quickly began searching for an opening as the deer approached the 30-yard mark.

His arrow hit the deer broadside, and the buck pivoted and streaked away the way it came, but it ran all the way around Fontenot’s stand site and down the edge of a creek.

“I tried to wait 15 minutes, but I probably stayed on my stand for 10 minutes,” Fontenot said.

By that time, a rain was beginning to seep out of the clouds, and Fontenot frantically searched for blood.

He found his arrow, and the beginning of the blood trail was 40 yards away.

The blood didn’t last long, however.

“I had about 100 yards of blood before I had nothing,” Fontenot said. “The rain had washed it away.”

He walked down the creek for a ways, but he gave up after about 30 minutes because he had to go to work.

“There isn’t a lot of pressure in the area, so I wasn’t worried about finding it,” he said. “I was pretty sure I could find it the next day.”

He still wasn’t really sure about the quality of the buck, though.

“I knew it was a rack deer, but I really wasn’t sure how big,” Fontenot said.

Christmas Eve dawned, and Fontenot was back in his stand, in the same tree, mainly wasting time before he got down to search for the buck.

“My plan was to hunt until 8 or so, and then get down and look for the buck,” he said.

It didn’t work out quite that way, though, because about 8 a.m. he watched two unidentified deer run across the creek.

“I thought it was a doe and yearling heading to the cutover,” Fontenot said.

A few minutes later, his adrenaline level spiked when he heard movement nearby.

Two dogs walked by, and Fontenot thought they had been running the two deer.

At 8:30, however, a different kind of sound was heard in the very thicket in which Fontenot had shot his buck the day before.

“I heard that snap of a branch, and I looked behind me and saw a rack buck right there, about 10 feet from my stand,” he said. “It was coming right at me.”

He immediately grabbed his bow, and when he looked back easily counted 10 points as the deer moved through some brush.

Fontenot gave a mouth bleat when the buck stepped into an opening, and he let an arrow fly into the now-motionless, quartering-away buck.

The arrow hit just behind the rib cage and penetrated through the far side, but remained in the deer.

Fontenot’s heart sank with memories of a spike he’d lost earlier in the season when an arrow failed to pass through.

He watched as the buck raced away through the wide-open woods, and was thrilled when he finally saw the arrow pop out of the deer about 60 yards away, just after it crossed the creek.

The deer disappeared on the other side of the creek.

He called buddy Brandon Laborde on his cell phone after climbing down and looking at his bloody arrow.

By 9:30 Laborde was there, and the two men began scouring the woods.

Blood was found about 80 yards from the arrow, and it led in a large loop straight back to the creek along which Fontenot had watched his Dec. 23 buck run.

“(Laborde) said, ‘I hope you have your hip boots, because there’s your deer,’” Fontenot said.

A buck was on the other side of the creek.

The hunters quickly found a fallen tree on which to cross the creek, and hurried to inspect the deer.

But as soon as Fontenot saw the rack, he knew it wasn’t the buck he’d shot that day.

“Then I knew it was the one I had shot the day before,” he said.

And the blood trail they had been following bore that out — it passed a few yards from the buck and ended about 60 yards away, where the latest deer arrowed by Fontenot was found.

Both bucks were 10-points, but it was the first one that was the larger.

It had 10 1/2-inch G3s, an 18 1/2-inch inside spread and 4 1/2-inch bases.

It green-scored at 164 3/8 Pope & Young.

The buck he killed on Christmas Eve wasn’t a slouch, though. It’s rack was 18 inches inside with 4 1/2-inch bases, and it roughed out at 134 6/8 Pope & Young.

The deer were 3 1/2 and 2 1/2 years old, respectively, and that impressed Fontenot with the potential of public lands.

“This shows the success of our archery-only management,” he said. “We’ve got the ability to raise bucks like this.”

So he’s sworn off his meat-hunter philosophy, at least when it comes to bucks.

“If you want meat, shoot does,” Fontenot said.


The Swamp Monster

Blane Rome has a leg up on a lot of Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area hunters.

After all, he was a member of one of the clubs that leased part of the land now making up the WMA, so he’s familiar with a lot of deer haunts.

“I’ve hunted back there for 28 or 29 years,” Rome said. “That’s the only place I know.”

He put that knowledge to use in preparation of the either-sex gun hunt that began Nov. 29, and he quickly found what he wanted.

A heavily used trail moving through the interior swamp off of Reserve Canal could be seen traversing a line of small hills, and all along the trail were hookings.

“He was hooking trees as far as we could see,” Rome said.

He took his 6-year-old son Seth in with him Nov. 30, but they didn’t see anything.

The next morning, the father-son team hit the woods late, piroguing back to the hooking line about 8 a.m.

They settled back in a group of trees and waited, the elder Rome worrying that his son was fidgeting too much.

“He’s 6 years old. He don’t sit too still,” Blane Rome laughed.

But just two hours later, they saw movement, and a big buck materialized about 125 yards away.

“He was just out making his rounds,” Rome said.

The hunter quickly drew a bead on the deer and squeezed the trigger.

The buck just disappeared.

“I asked Seth if he saw the deer run because I just lost sight of him,” Rome said.

So they jumped up and searched the swamp where they thought the animal had been standing.

“I looked and looked, and finally I saw the antlers sticking up out of the water,” Rome said.

Apparently, the buck fell into a deep hole in the swamp, in which the animal promptly sunk.

“That’s all there was above the water, the antlers,” he said. “It’s tough back there.”

The hunter struggled to get the buck out of the hole, and then marveled at what he saw.

The rack’s inside spread measured 20 1/4 inches, and the main beams sported 10 points.

The longest tines were the G3s, which measured 8 and 8 1/4 inches. The bases were each 5 1/8 inches around.

The estimated greenscore for the 205-pound deer was 147 1/4 B&C.


Willow Point Archery Buck

Luling hunter Randy Steverson has made a pilgrimage to East Carroll Parish’s famed Willow Point for several years, and he’s gotten used to seeing big bucks.

“You see so many rack bucks that you get over that excitement when you see a big deer,” Steverson.

That pattern held true during a December trip, when the 37-year-old hunter watched seven or eight big-racked deer near his stands during his first three hunts.

“The rut was just beginning, and the bucks were chasing does,” Steverson said. “The bucks were too far (during his first hunts). You know how it is when you bow hunt.”

So when he saw a set of big antlers on Dec. 12, he calmly picked up his rangefinder and noted that it was 60 yards from his stand, which was set up on the edge of a food plot.

He also knew that it was a buck he could shoot under Willow Point’s strict rules.

“I knew it was a good deer,” he said. “He walked out into the green patch like he owned it.”

The buck took a couple of bites of grass, and then rounded up some does that were standing on the edge of the woods.

“He moved off back into the woods, and took the does with him,” Steverson said.

The does showed up again about 15 minutes later, though, and the buck stepped out again a few minutes later.

“I put the range finder on him, and saw that he was 38 yards from the stand,” Steverson said. “It was as close as he was going to get.

“It was then or not at all.”

The hunter drew his arrow as the buck quartered away, and a split second later the arrow found its mark.

“He ran about 60 yards. I saw him go down, and I could see his white belly,” he explained. “When he went down, I saw him kick a little, so I knew he was down for good.”

But it was just before 3 p.m., so Steverson wasn’t about to get out of the stand.

Instead, he nocked another arrow and began hunting for does, but he had no way of pinpointing yardages when the does began coming back onto the field.

“I dropped my range finder in all the excitement,” he said.

Steverson missed a doe, and then he finally climbed out of the stand.

“I shot the buck at 2:55 p.m., and I didn’t put my hands on him until 5:30,” he said.

That’s when the enormity of the kill settled in.

“I had no idea he was that good,” Steverson said. “I knew it was a good, mature deer, but I didn’t have any idea he was that big.”

The rack’s bases measured 5 inches, and the tines were tall and symmetrical.

But it was the width of the perfect 10-point that blew Steverson’s mind.

The insides of the main beams were 21 6/8 inches apart at the widest point.

“I just couldn’t believe how wide it was,” he said.

The deer green-scored at 150 points Pope & Young.


Southwest Surprise

A buck this size wasn’t supposed to be in this area of the state. After all, Southwest Louisiana is nothing but pine plantations and poor dirt.

“The only thing we’ve ever killed is basket racks,” Grand Lake’s Dwight Busby said of his lease about 45 minutes northwest of Lake Charles.

But Busby had seen what looked to be a big, velvet-covered 8-point feeding in his food plot just before the season.

He worked his stands to try and get a shot at the deer once the season opened.

“I have two stands, and I hunted that stand off and on all year long,” Busby said.

He had planned to abandon that food plot the afternoon of Nov. 2, but changed his mind as he headed into the woods.

“I told the president of the club that something was telling me to hunt this one,” Busby said.

So he climbed into the stand just after 2:30 p.m., and waited to see what walked by.

The plot was about 200 yards from a right of way used as a travel corridor for the club, and a truck scared up a doe only a few minutes into the hunt.

“It took off running across the food plot about 200 yards from my stand, and I couldn’t get a shot at it,” Busby explained.

He settled back again, but it wouldn’t be long before he was anxious again.

“A few minutes (after the doe crossed his stand), I heard him crash behind me about 50 yards away,” he said.

The 45-year-old hunter couldn’t see behind the stand, but he heard a deer moving toward an opening through which he could get a shot.

“I heard him making a rub,” Busby said. “All I could see was the bush moving, and then I saw those horns.”

The hunter quietly counselled himself to remain calm, but that became more and more difficult as the deer edged closer to Busby’s shooting lane.

“The closer he got to the opening, the bigger those antlers got,” he said.

The deer finally made it to the open area, but did something completely unexpected.

“He broke out in a dead trot straight toward me,” Busby said.

The deer stopped 15 yards from the stand, but Busby couldn’t bring his rifle to bear before the animal resumed its trotting.

“It passed 5 yards from the stand,” Busby said.

He snapped the scope to his eye, but all he could see was hair.

He squeezed the trigger, and the buck bolted.

“I didn’t know if the first shot would have killed it,” Busby said. “So I found the deer’s ear in the scope, moved the crosshairs down a little and fired another shot.”

That round hit the buck in the neck, and the deer fell dead.

Busby calmly climbed out of the stand and made sure the buck was dead.

“I was still as calm as could be,” he said.

And then he grabbed the antlers to drag the buck to the right of way. He couldn’t get his hands around the bases of the antlers.

“That’s when it hit me. I was shaking so much it was pathetic,” Busby said. “I couldn’t breathe.”

The rack was a main-frame 8-point, but there were 13 scorable points. Most of the stickers that composed the extra five points were as symmetrical as the main frame of the rack.

“The kickers on the G2s are in almost the same spots,” Busby said.

The only point that threw off the uniformity was the left brow tine, which was split.

The G2s were each 13 inches long, and they were both broken off.

“The rack is so tall that, if the head was laying in the bed of the truck, the rack stood above the sides of the truck,” Busby said. “The rack, from the skull to the top of the G2s, was 17 inches.”

The inside spread was a relatively modest 18 1/4 inches wide, but the bases were right at 5 inches in diameter, and the main beams were almost 25 inches long.

“Everything is within a 1/4 inch (of being perfectly symmetrical),” Busby said.

The buck green-scored 149 7/8 Boone & Crockett, although Busby said the scorer forgot to add in the length of the five kicker-points before subtracting deductions.

It also measured 162 5/8 on the Buckmaster system.

When word got out, Busby discovered that the buck had been photographed on remote cameras twice by the adjoining hunting club.

“They had been hunting him for two years,” he said.


Tunica Trophy

Forty-five acres. That’s all Edward Toups and his brother have access to, but like all real estate, it’s the location that matters.

The land is in Tunica Hills, which is rich with oak mast and known for producing big deer.

And the brothers knew there were big bucks frequenting their property.

“A game warden found some sheds that were estimated at 185 B&C,” Edward Toups said.

Edward Toups thought he had the chance to kill one of the big bucks on the opening morning of the early blackpowder season, but he was foiled by the thicket in which the buck was moving.

“I had the scope on (a buck), but I couldn’t tell where on the deer,” he explained.

The buck was in a thicket along an old skinner trail.

He crawled back in the stand opening day of rifle season (Nov. 23) hoping to get another shot at the buck.

That same buck didn’t show up, but Toups wasn’t that disappointed — another monster trotted down the overgrown skinner trail about 7:30 that morning.

The buck was behind a huge-bodied deer.

“It was chasing a 200-pound 8-point,” Toups said. “It was looking down where the 8-point went.”

Toups admitted that he isn’t much of a neck-shooter, preferring to put a bullet in the vitals of his deer, but he wasn’t about to let his chance to bag this beast slip away.

“You don’t get broadside shots in Tunica,” he said.

The hunter hurriedly found a hole in the thickets and placed the crosshairs on the buck’s neck.

The 198-pound deer rolled into the bottom when Toups squeezed the trigger.

The inside spread of the 10-pointer was only 15 1/2 inches, but the mass of the rack more than made for it.

The main beams, which measured 22 and 21 1/4 inches, averaged 4 1/4 inches in diameter all the way past the G4s.

And the G2s and G3s on the right side were 11 inches long.

The greenscore was 148 7/8 B&C.


The Blue-Bucket Bucks

Steve Anderson had no business being in the woods Nov. 29.

After all, he had already missed two does and a 7-point in velvet with his bow.

But it was rifle season, and he was out to redeem himself.

He should have stayed at the camp.

Anderson watched as a doe slipped through a thicket by his stand, and right behind it was a 15-inch 8-point.

He leveled the rifle, found a hole in the cover and squeezed the trigger.

The buck bolted, and when Anderson climbed out of the stand to look for blood, he was dumfounded.

There wasn’t a drop on the ground.

He had missed, apparently clipping a small limb.

Disgusted, but determined to be sure he had made a clean miss, Anderson searched the thicket on his 116 acres north of Natchez.

That’s when he found the bucket.

“While looking for that buck, I found a blue bucket,” Anderson said. “I was disgusted with myself, so I decided to sit on that bucket for a little while.”

He was overlooking a wide-open bottom, and he figured he might have a chance at seeing another deer.

“I wasn’t there five minutes, and two bucks came running through the bottom,” Anderson said.

The deer, an 8-point and a 6-point, weren’t quite what he was looking for, but he decided the bucket might be a great place to hunt the next time he was in the woods.

That’s just where he went on Dec. 1, slipping to the old diesel bucket before daylight and taking a seat.

“At 7:30, a doe came through the bottom, and at 7:35, a buck came walking straight to me,” Anderson said.

The buck’s rack only sported 8 points, but it wasn’t your average deer.

“It was a big 8-point,” Anderson said.

The excited hunter brought his rifle to bear with the deer only 50 yards away.

“There wasn’t a tree between me and the deer but one cottonwood,” he explained.

Through the scope, Anderson could see the forward part of the buck’s antlers, its nose and, every now and then, its eye.

But the vitals were concealed by the tree, leaving only the rump of the deer exposed.

Anderson made a decision that normally is a no-no — he put the crosshairs just in front of the near-side hindquarter and squeezed the trigger.

The deer was quartering away from Anderson, so the trajectory took the bullet into the far-side hindquarter, and the buck spun and went down.

Anderson watched at the deer jumped up, but he was ready.

“I shot again, hitting him in the chest,” he said.

The buck still wasn’t willing to quit, though.

The animal rolled into a creek, with Anderson running into the bottom to make sure the buck didn’t escape.

He put a third round into the deer’s neck as it struggled to stand up again.

That ended the chase.

“I jumped off into the water like a frog,” Anderson said. “It was 35 degree, and I didn’t even care.”

The buck’s rack enclosed 18 inches of air, and it green-scored at 136 Boone & Crockett points.

While that would probably have been the end of the story for most hunters, Anderson’s tale wasn’t complete.

The Prairieville taxidermist returned to the bucket Dec. 26; no one had been to the spot except his son, Bubba, who had watched a nice 7-point.

It wasn’t long before the elder Anderson saw a small buck pick its way through the bottom.

At 10:30 a.m., the hunter watched another 8-point on a hill across the bottom.

“It looked like it was going to come across (the bottom),” Anderson said.

It walked into the bottom toward the creek coursing through the hollow, but disappeared into a blindspot.

Anderson waited about 30 minutes, and then eased about 30 yards from his bucket so he could see the creek.

“I saw a doe being chased by an 8-point,” he said. “I started to shoot that buck, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for.”

So Anderson quickly canvassed the bottom from his new vantage point, and movement caught his eye.

“It was walking out of some brush on a little island in the middle of the creek,” he said. “It was coming out of the brush to cross the creek.”

This newest buck was what Anderson was looking for, and he quickly shot the deer at 50 yards.

This 8-point proved to have an even larger rack than his Dec. 1 buck, even though the inside spread was considerably narrower.

Anderson said the buck had 23-inch main beams and a 16-inch spread, but the tines were tall.

“The right G2 was 14 inches,” he said. “The left one was 11 inches.”

That buck greenscored at 141 4/8 Boone & Crockett, he said.

About Andy Crawford 863 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.

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