40-yard shot nails heavy-horned 158-inch buck
Austin Vidrine of Monroe accepted an invitation from his friend Scott Gill to hunt one of his stands on the 1,230 acres Gill and his family own in rural Claiborne Parish. On Halloween afternoon, Vidrine downed the first buck he had ever taken — an impressive 140-class buck that had never been seen on game cameras.
Less than 24 hours later, Gill, who lives in Shreveport, would not only match but surpass Vidrine’s impressive deer when he nailed a mainframe 8-point with a kicker from just 40 yards.
“I decided to sleep in Nov. 1 because it was raining heavily that morning,” Gill said.
Once the rain stopped, he decided to go to another stand on the property, in a different location from where Vidrine had success the afternoon before.
“I was torn a bit as to which stand to try that afternoon. I suppose the obvious choice would be the one near where I had seen a nice 8-point chasing does,” he said. “For whatever reason, I chose another stand because nobody had hunted it and I was curious as to what I might see.”
Gill, 27, credited his uncle George Tigner of Homer for his choice of stands that afternoon.
“My uncle is the one who taught me how to hunt, how to shoot, how to fish, and I can’t help but believe my decision as to which stand I’d hunt was engrained in my by my uncle,” he said.
The family property is seriously managed for producing bigger deer. Spring and summer food plots are planted, and cameras are used from springtime through hunting season to show what deer are on the land. The rule is to avoid shooting a buck under 3 ½ years of age, and a minimum of at least 8 points is strictly enforced.
Gill got on his stand at 1 that afternoon, and settled in to hunt until dark. However, he only had to wait one hour until the big buck no one had ever seen or found on trail cameras stepped out.
“The buck just stepped out onto the clearing only 40 yards from me. I was in shock because this was completely unexpected and I usually don’t have this kind of good luck,” Gill said.
Placing the crosshairs of the scope on his Browning X-Bolt .308 on the deer’s shoulder, Gill squeezed the trigger and the buck stumbled and fell some 20 steps from where it was shot.
“As I walked up to him, I noticed his swollen neck and could smell him so I knew he was in rut and had come from somewhere to check out receptive does on our property,” Gill said.
The buck sported a heavy mainframe 8-point rack with one small kicker. The inside spread was 19 ¾ inches, main beams were around 25 inches and bases were 5 inches. The buck, which weighed 205 pounds, was green-scored at 158 6/8 inches.
“I found it amazing that within less than 24 hours, almost 300 inches of bone hit the ground on our Claiborne Parish property,” he said.