Ruston’s Jeff Perot was deer hunting in Richland Parish on Dec. 28, 2023. What caliber was he toting? He wasn’t carrying a rifle; he was armed with his camera as he has contracted with a landowner to photograph as many deer as he can to give the owner an idea of just what he has on his 7,200 acres.
Perot is an architect by profession, but he is also one of this area’s most notable wildlife and nature photographers. He sums up what he does by saying, “I draw pictures as an architect and take pictures as a photographer.”
Perot has shared some of his outstanding photos on Facebook and especially some of the deer he’s photographed on his Richland Parish project.
“I have walked over just about every acre of this plot in Richland Parish, but on the morning of Dec. 28 I found something that made me stop and first thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to find what I found,” Perot said.
“While walking through some tall grass in the woods on the property, I saw something that caused me to pause,” he said. “There were bones of a deer, laid out in a manner like the animal had just laid down and died. There was no evidence that a coyote had killed it because everything was laid out in order.”
He saw what at first he thought were bones from the deer’s rib cage sticking up out of the grass. Walking closer, Perot was looking at something that at first he couldn’t believe.
“Upon closer examination, what I was looking at sticking up out of the grass were antlers the likes I had never seen,” he said.
When he reached to pick up the antlers attached to the top half of a skull, Perot was in total shock. He held in his hand the rack of a buck that almost defied description. It had 25 on a non-typical rack. The antlers were in good shape, not starting to deteriorate but faded somewhat and having lost most of their natural color because the buck was believed to have died two years ago.
Buckmaster scorer Cecil Reddick put the tape on the rack and came up with 244 5/8 inches of mass and the jawbone revealed the buck was only 4 ½ years old.
In sharing his find with the property owner, Perot learned that this was a mystery buck; nobody had ever seen it nor had photos of the deer. It’s a mystery that will likely go unsolved because there was nothing left of the carcass to indicate if the buck had been shot.
What are Perot’s plans for his unusual find?
“I’m going to see if the rack can be preserved and maybe made into a mount to have it look like it did before it died,” he said. “Right now, all I have is the top half of the skull to which the antlers are attached. I’m in no hurry and want to explore all possibilities as to how to preserve it.”
Perot is back at work in his office drawing pictures as an architect. However, he’ll probably never forget the photograph he could have taken, but didn’t because of his excitement at stumbling up on a mystery buck he found lying in tall grass in Richland Parish.