West Monroe hunter downs 180-inch monster in Richland Parish

Family teamwork brings down 22-pointer on Thanksgiving Day near Mangham

Sometimes taking down a wily old buck requires teamwork — which was definitely on display during a wild hunt that resulted in a 180-class monster biting the bullet in Richland Parish on Thanksgiving afternoon.

West Monroe’s Ryan Hearne was positioned in a box stand in the woods on a private 2,000-acre lease near Mangham when he got a text from his older brother Mike, who was hunting another stand on the same property along with his 9-year-old son, Brodie.

With binoculars, the father-son team had spotted an impressive-looking buck at a feeder about 800 yards from their stand. It was where Ryan had hunted that morning, before he left to go to Thanksgiving dinner with his wife’s grandparents.

After reading the text, Ryan abandoned his afternoon stand, grabbed his rifle and — accompanied by property owner Jeff Mercer — set out on foot and made the 500-yard journey through the woods to the field in question in about 10 minutes.

“By the time I got over there, the buck had started working his way away from the feeder,” Hearne said. “The field he was in had a roll in it, and when he made that roll, he got where I couldn’t see him.”

Luckily the wind was in the hunter’s face, and Hearne crested the hill and saw the big buck still moving but completely unaware of his presence.

“That field only has two trees in it, and fortunately the trees were in between me and him at that point, so I took off for the trees,” he said. “I was out of breath, so I put the left side of my body up against the tree.”

Still huffing from his trek through the woods — and now sighted in on a trophy buck 200 yards away — Hearne steadied himself and squeezed the trigger of his 7 mm Mag Remington Sendero.

The monster buck dropped in its tracks, and the team celebrated a plan that came together perfectly — Mike and Brodie had watched the hunt unfold through binoculars 800 yards away in their stand.

“Mike said, ‘Man, we heard you shoot, and we were fist-pumping in the stand,’” Ryan said.

Even though it was, by far, the biggest buck he’s ever shot, Hearne said he was in no condition to run over immediately to check out the deer.

“No, the running was over once he hit the ground,” Hearne said with a laugh. “I wasn’t going to do any more running.

“Maybe speed-walking, but running was out of the question.”

Finally getting his hands on the buck’s massive antlers was almost a surreal experience, he said.

“Being the biggest thing I’ve ever killed is a 9-point and then seeing that, to me it’s unreal,” he said. “You’re just speechless. The first thing I did was throw my hands up and thank God.”

The heavy-horned buck had 22 scorable points, with an inside spread of 20 inches. Circumference at the bases was almost 5 inches, and the mass carried all the way to the tips.

The deer, estimated to be about 5 ½ years old, green-scored 180 6/8 inches at Simmons’ Sporting Goods in Bastrop.

The buck is currently at the taxidermist, and Hearne already has a special spot cleared out for the big buck.

“My wife actually took my man cave and turned it into her coupon room, so I turned the living room into my man cave and got all my mounts and stuff like that in there,” Hearne said. “She said, ‘We’ve got too much dead stuff on the wall.’ And I was like, ‘You’re not telling me I can’t put this one in the living room.’

“I’ve already got a spot cleared out, and I should have him back at the end of January or the first of February.”

The big mount will always be a reminder of a very special Thanksgiving in 2015 — a great day when family teamwork resulted in the buck of a lifetime.

“It was definitely probably the best hunt I’ve ever been on in my life,” Hearne said. “It’s just amazing to be able to harvest an animal like that. I don’t know if it will ever happen again in my lifetime, but it was a blast.

“Without my brother and my nephew — and Jeff letting us hunt down there — it wouldn’t have all come together. But it did.”

Don’t forget to enter photos of your bucks in the Nikon Big Buck Photo Contest to be eligible for monthly giveaways and the random drawing for Nikon optics at the end of the contest.

Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.

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About Patrick Bonin 1315 Articles
Patrick Bonin is the former editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and LouisianaSportsman.com.