Deer of the Year

These hunters put themselves in the right places at the right times to kill some whoppers during the 2007-08 season.


February 28, 2008 at 4:07 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

After a relentless pursuit, Justin Malouf’s perseverance paid off when he was finally able to kill this massive buck nicknamed “Big Freak Nasty.”
After a relentless pursuit, Justin Malouf’s perseverance paid off when he was finally able to kill this massive buck nicknamed “Big Freak Nasty.”
The recently closed deer-hunting season might not have been the coldest on record, but hunters still managed to knock down some genuine beasts.

Mississippi Sportsman readers have already read about young Shelby Tate’s non-typical, which greenscored an impressive 265 2/8 Boone & Crockett, as well as trophy bucks killed by John Rebel Scott in the Bienville National Forest and Brad Scrimpshire in Clarke County.

However, those weren’t the only big bucks killed. Here are a few of the many monsters Mississippi Sportsman was able to track down.

Big Freak Nasty

Justin Malouf first saw the buck in November when he and a buddy went to his Madison County lease to sight in their rifles.

“I got the first picture on Nov. 26,” Malouf said. “I decided to hunt that day.”

They nicknamed it the “Big Freak Nasty” because of its wild rack.

The pair saw a few deer that hunt, but the big-racked deer never showed up.

When Malouf checked the camera the next day, he couldn’t believe what he found.

“He was (in the food plot) nine minutes after my friend left the stand,” the Ridgeland hunter said.

And that wasn’t the only picture he had of the big buck working a scrape in the food plot.

“I was getting pictures of him every other night,” Malouf said. “He was coming in between 5:30 and 7:30 at night.”

That was more than Malouf could stand. He decided to hunt every day until he killed the buck.

“Every second I had I was in the tree,” Malouf said. “The last five days, it was daylight to dark.”

The Realtor surrounded the large field with lock-ons so that he could hunt it regardless of which direction the wind blew, but he had one problem.

“The grass was 5 or 6 feet tall,” he said.

That made it extremely difficult to see anything moving around in the field.

Finally, 14 days into the marathon, Malouf decided he had no choice but to cut shooting lanes into the field.

“Everybody was like, ‘No. Don’t go in there,’” he said. “But these deer see tractors all the time, so I didn’t think it would run him out of the area.”

So Malouf cut lanes through the area he was certain the deer was using.

“I had him pegged to a 50- to 100-acre block,” Malouf said. “Every couple of days, he was coming from there. Every picture I got of him, the angle he was coming from was from that area.”

Certain he was narrowing it down, Malouf pulled his stands in as close as possible, surrounding the scrape that was being worked over.

And then he got a call from a buddy that worried him.

“That Monday (Dec. 10) after I cut the lanes, a buddy called and said, ‘I think the Freak’s dead,’” Malouf said.

The hunter frantically tried finding out about the deer throughout the day, and finally spoke to a taxidermist who confirmed that a big buck had been shot near Malouf’s lease.

“We knew the deer (Malouf was hunting) was a 200-inch deer,” he said. “How many 200-inch deer are in the same 1½-mile stretch?”

Still, Malouf hadn’t seen a picture of the dead deer, so there was some hope that Big Freak Nasty was still walking.

“I went and checked my camera, and there was a picture of the deer from the evening before,” he said. “I knew he was still there.”

And then, as if someone flipped a switch, all the scrapes on the lease went dormant.

“The bucks all stopped using the scrapes,” Malouf said.

That didn’t deter Malouf, who knew this simply indicated the bucks were actively chasing does. He hoped the buck would make a mistake and stay out during daylight hours.

“I camped out on him,” Malouf said.

On Dec. 16, the hunter saw the buck.

“A cold front was coming in, and at 8 a.m. he stepped out 200 yards down one of the lanes,” Malouf said. “He’s walking straight away from me, and I thought, ‘Please Lord, let him turn and give me a shot.’”

But the deer angled back into the grass.

“He just disappeared 50 to 70 yards from another one of my lock-ons,” he said.

The hunter watched some does in the same area, and finally eased out of his stand and moved to the other lock-on.

“I sat there until dark, and didn’t see another deer,” Malouf said.

He continued hunting, although he feared that might have been his only shot at the buck.

On Dec. 18, Malouf was kept out of the stand early because of work, but he hurried to the field as soon as he could.

“About 5 p.m. I looked up and two does were coming into the food plot,” he said.

The afternoon had been noisy, with robins everywhere. But just after the does walked into the green patch, everything got very quiet.

“I turned and looked at one of the shooting lanes, and I saw two bucks jump across,” Malouf said. “I grunted three to four times and hit that (Primos) Can three to four times.”

He scanned all of the lanes, but was soon stopped.

“I looked at one of my lanes, and there he was,” Malouf said. “He was 50 yards from where I saw him the first time, about 290 yards away, and walking straight at me.”

The hunter watched as the buck got closer. He eased down onto the platform of the stand to help get a solid rest for the shot.

“I told myself if he turned, I was going to shoot,” he said. “He finally wheeled to the left, and everything from his shoulder forward was in the grass.”

The hunter squeezed off a shot, and the deer disappeared.

“Everything got eerie quiet,” he said.

Malouf picked up his phone and called his father, who was hunting nearby.

“I told him, ‘I just missed him,’” Malouf said.

Disgusted with himself, he climbed off the stand and walked down to ensure the deer hadn’t been hit.

“I got to the lane, and there was a buck standing there,” Malouf said. “It wasn’t the same buck, but he was acting funny.”

That revived some hope.

“I was expecting him to be laying there, but he wasn’t,” Malouf said.

With daylight quickly fading, he pulled out his flashlight and walked into the tall grass.

“I couldn’t see anything,” he said. “And then I saw blood. It was all eye level: I guess he was jumping through the grass.”

After considering leaving the deer for the night, Malouf decided to push on.

“I walked up on him,” he said.

The deer was enormous, with six typical points and 18 abnormal points. The bases measured 8½ and 9 inches, but inside spread was only 12¼ inches.

The narrow spread didn’t hurt the score much, however: It was greenscored at 206 7/8 Boone & Crocket.

“The mass is what makes him,” Malouf said.

The entire experience was a thrill for Malouf.

“It’s one thing to have a deer you’ve never seen walk out, but to know he’s there and kill him is amazing,” Malouf said. “It’ll drive you crazy and almost get you a divorce.”

The tree-tied buck

Trey Burton couldn’t believe what he was seeing on the morning of Dec. 6: A doe was being chased by five bucks, one of which was the biggest-racked deer he’d ever seen.

“I watched him for 10 to 15 minutes,” the Bentonia hunter said. “He was 25 yards on the other side of my fence.”

Because he would have been breaking the law, Burton simply watched as the bucks ran the hot doe. He hoped that the deer would jump the fence, but it never happened.

Second-guessing began almost immediately.

“I kind of regretted not shooting him,” Burton said. “I went back that afternoon, but I didn’t see anything.”

The next morning found Burton on the edge of the same field early.

“I got in the woods at 4 (a.m.) the next day,” he said. “I got in there before anything would be moving so I wouldn’t spook anything.”

All he saw was a small scrub buck and a doe.

“I was really regretting not shooting that buck when I saw it,” he said.

The temperatures soared to 83 degrees that day, but Burton wasn’t about to give up: He eased into the field about 2:30 p.m., and sat on the ground with his back to a tree.

The afternoon wore on, but nothing appeared.

Burton was really second-guessing himself as the light began to fade.

“I was actually fixing to get up when (a doe) jumped a fence into the field,” he said. “She came into the field 20 yards from me.”

The hunter quickly settled back against the tree as a buck jumped the same fence right behind the doe. And then another buck hopped into the field, and then another and another buck popped over the fence.

Burton was incredulous: It seemed the same group of bucks was still chasing the same hot doe. One of the four was a 160- to 170-class buck, but Burton hoped the big buck would also be trailing the doe.

As this was progressing, he heard something right next to him.

It was the monster buck.

“When he jumped the fence, he was 5 yards from me,” Burton said. “He jumped the fence and went to strutting. He had his hair up on his neck trying to intimidate the other bucks.”

Amazingly, the big buck apparently knew Burton was sitting nearby.

“He stared at me and everything,” he said.

However, the deer was more interested in earning the right to breed the doe, and soon ignored the hunter.

“As soon as he went to blowing up, I rolled down on my stomach and shot him,” Burton said.

The deer dropped, but almost before it hit the ground, it was running.

“I hit it a little high, in the top of the shoulder,” Burton said. “Because of the angle, it came out at the top of his back.”

The deer’s back was shattered, but it still had control of its front legs, and it was running as fast as it could.

After about 20 yards, the deer stopped. Burton hurried to it, and when the buck began getting up again, the hunter made what could have been a life-threatening mistake.

“I grabbed it by the horns,” he said. “I dropped my rifle.”

That left him with no way to put the deer down for good.

“I didn’t even have a knife on me,” Burton lamented.

The deer quickly shook Burton off, and took off across the field.

Burton ran as fast as he could, trying to catch the escaping animal. He finally caught up with the deer at the tree line.

“I actually tied him to a tree with my jacket,” he said.

He hurried back through the field in hopes of retrieving his rifle, but couldn’t find it.

“I didn’t know where I had crossed the field,” Burton said.

So he called a friend, but couldn’t convince him that he had killed such a monster.

“He was getting ready to go out to eat,” Burton said.

The friend finally agreed to come help, but by the time he arrived Burton had located the gun and put the deer down for good.

It was an amazing buck, wearing a crown of antlers that had 20 scoreable points and 10 more “redneck points.”

It was scored at 206 7/8 B&C by the Big Buck Bounty.

Tunnel vision

Outdoor photographer Paul Brown has taken pictures of a lot of really nice bucks, so he knows a big deer when he sees one.

So when he checked his Cuddeback trail cam on Sept. 9, he couldn’t believe what he found among the hundreds of images taken on his 200-acre Holmes County property.

“There were deer all over the place,” he said.

But it was after he had gone through more than 400 images that he really paid attention.

“I just about fell out of my chair,” Brown said.

The buck on the screen was massive, and the Brandon hunter soon realized he had seen a very similar rack before.

“I found his shed on Feb. 11 of last year,” Brown said. “We only found his left side. We looked and looked, but never could find that other shed.

“He had changed some, but not enough that you couldn’t tell it was him in the picture.”

And the deer’s antlers had grown even larger.

“His tines were so much longer,” Brown said.

That was all Brown needed to see: He determined that all his efforts would go into killing that buck.

“We just hunted on the periphery,” Brown said. “We had one stand in the interior of the property that we only hunted on a southeast wind, but we mainly stayed on food plots on the edge.”

His 23-year-old son Mark killed a doe on one of the outside green patches, but that’s the only deer that was shot through December.

“Nobody would shoot another deer other than him,” Brown said.

He placed four trail cams in the area, and finally had confidence he knew where the animal lived.

“I thought I had pretty much pinpointed his bedding area using the cameras,” he explained. “I had 40 to 50 images of him.”

Brown had some biologist buddies look at the images of the deer, and they guesstimated it would net a score in the mid 190s with a mid-170 gross score.

So the hunter decided he would take it with a bow.

“I knew if I had taken him with my bow, it would have been the new state record,” Brown said.

He spent many a day in trees, watching other deer and waiting for a shot.

By December, Brown decided to attempt a new trick.

“I fertilized one of the food plots containing that Mossy Oak perennial clover again,” he said. “I’ve never done that before.

“I was trying to make him go to the best food source.”

The buck never showed up during December, however.

And then the buck stopped being captured on the game cameras.

“The last shot I got of him was on Dec. 28,” Brown said.

On Jan. 16, Brown was in St. Louis for a book signing when plans to shoot images at a nearby wildlife refuge fell through. So the photographer headed home.

On the way, however, he realized that he would be passing his hunting property that afternoon. So he called a neighbor, checked on weather conditions and invited the man to hunt with him.

“I’d been trying to get him to hunt with me all year, and he wouldn’t,” Brown said. “He was afraid he’d shoot that deer, and he knew I’d never talk to him again.”

But the two met at the property about 3 p.m., and headed for stands. Brown had traded in his bow for a rifle.

“I had given up on killing this deer,” he said.

Brown walked past a stand that had been a complete flop all year.

“I had hunted it four other times, and never seen a deer, never seen a hair,” Brown said.

However, he soon realized the wind was all wrong for the stand he planned to hunt. Disgusted, Brown turned around and walked back to the first stand he had passed.

“I was mad and frustrated,” he said.

About 5:35 p.m., however, he saw two deer walking toward him from the stand he originally wanted to hunt.

“It was two bucks walking shoulder to shoulder in the food plot,” Brown said.

When the two deer entered the field, they stopped and licked a limb overhanging a scrape.

The hunter still didn’t realize he was looking at the monster buck.

“When they turned broadside and started walking, I could see it was him,” Brown said.

Suddenly, the weight of the moment hit him.

“I had buck fever so bad,” Brown said. “I was sketching figure-8s on his shoulder (with the crosshairs). I’ve been to Alberta and Saskatchewan trying to kill a Boone & Crocket, and I never got this excited.”

But this buck was special.

“I knew it was the deer I had been hunting all year,” he said.

The deer continued walking toward the trembling hunter, and at 140 yards, Brown squeezed off the shot.

“He fell right there, thankfully,” Brown said.

Ironically, Brown said it was a tad smaller than he and the biologists thought it would be.

“We judged his spread to be 20 inches and his G-2’s to be 12 inches,” Brown said.

The spread actually was 18 inches, and the G-2’s were just longer than 11 inches.

“But I’ll take that,” he said.

However, the biologists had come awfully close to the actual greenscores: The big mainframe 12-point netted 192 3/8, and grossed 170 3/8 B&C.

“It had 17 scoreable points, and it had four more points that were just short of scoring,” Brown said.

The belly crawl

Sixteen-year-old Cody Woods was just looking to end the season with a buck when he climbed into a box stand overlooking a huge bean field that already had been harvested.

“It was the last day of rifle season, so I was going to go ahead and kill a buck,” Woods said.

As the sun began to dip over the horizon, he finally spotted a group of deer moving into the field. Among them was a buck, but Woods couldn’t tell anything about it.

“I saw the deer at about 1,000 yards,” he explained.

However, he wasn’t about to wait and let it get away.

“I got out of my stand and had to crawl across the field,” Woods said.

The boy slithered through the bean stubble for almost 800 yards until he reached a point he felt confident he could make the shot.

“The buck had two or three does with him, but he wasn’t running them,” he said.

Finally, with only 200 yards separating the buck and the prone hunter, Woods pulled his rifle to his shoulder.

“I shot him straight through the heart,” he said. “He ran about 50 yards before he died.”

However, Woods still didn’t understand fully what he had just killed.

“I could tell he was a good buck, but I don’t spend a lot of time looking at the horns because I miss them when I do that,” he said.

The youth called his father, Tim, on a two-way radio, and told his dad he had a good deer down. Tim Woods, who already had killed a 19-inch 9-point that evening, hurried over.

When the hunters walked up to Cody’s deer, they were astounded.

The rack featured double main beams on each side that held 15 scoreable points. It later greenscored 190 3/8 in the Big Buck Bounty.

The celebration was on.

“He gave me a hug and everything,” Cody said of his father.

And the kill won’t even cost the boy any money to have mounted: Tim Woods owns Woods and Waters Taxidermy.

Sibling rivalry

Brothers Raymond and Brad Hall hunt a 340-acre tract of Yazoo County land, but Brad Hall claims to be the real hunter of the two.

“He’s the bigger fisherman, and I’m the bigger hunter,” Brad Hall said.

Despite that, Raymond Hall claimed bragging rights by killing a 150-class 12-point a few years ago that stood as the biggest buck killed on the small patch of woods and fields.

That all changed in November, when Brad Hall headed for a thicket on the property.

“I had always wanted to get back in this area of the property we can’t hunt because it’s so thick you can’t really get in without disturbing everything,” the Jackson hunter said.

This season, however, access to the big thicket was made possible because a logging road had been bulldozed during the offseason.

“I told my brother and brother-in-law, ‘We’re going to kill the biggest deer we’ve ever killed on this property from that thicket,’” Brad Hall recalled.

He asked for help putting up a ladder stand, but no one took him seriously. Honestly, even Hall understood why.

“I make that same claim all the time,” he laughed.

On Nov. 24, Hall finally determined he wasn’t waiting for a ladder stand to be placed.

“I decided I was going to still-hunt my way back there with my climber on my back,” he said. “I would hang it when I got back there and hunt it again that evening.”

He slowly made his way down the logging road that morning, sitting in place for upwards of 45 minutes before moving. Finally, however, Hall reached a confluence of several major trails on top of a ridge on the edge of the thicket.

“The ridge overlooked an open bottom, and they were crossing in and out of that thicket 5 yards from where I put my stand,” he said. “I slipped the stand on the tree and tiptoed out of there.”

That afternoon he returned, and it wasn’t long before he had some action.

“I bleated, and two or three minutes after that, I heard something walking toward me in the thicket,” Hall said. “I couldn’t see it, but I could hear it because it was so dry.”

Finally, a doe appeared, walking right past Hall’s stand and feeding under a nearby oak.

After some time, the deer meandered away.

“I bleated again, and then about five minutes after that, I grunted,” he said.

Several minutes later, the sound of movement in the thicket grabbed the hunter’s attention again.

“It was getting dark, and it was hard to see, but I could hear something walking,” he said. “It stopped, and I heard it raking a tree.”

That spiked Hall’s adrenaline, but he still couldn’t see even a patch of hair despite the fact the deer was less than 100 yards away.

“I heard it walk some more, and then it stopped and started raking another tree,” he said. “By now, I’m starting to get a little worked up.”

However, light was failing by the moment.

“We’re down to 30 yards, and I can’t see him,” Hall said.

And then at 20 yards, the frantic hunter finally caught movement.

“I looked through my binoculars and found its body, and moved up to its head,” Brad Hall said. “All I could see was mass and points everywhere.”

The hunter dropped the binoculars, grabbed his rifle and squeezed the trigger.

“I thought I saw it hunch up,” he said. “It ran maybe 20 yards, and I heard it stumbling and falling.”

Afraid to jump the wounded animal, Hall sat in his stand. He could see the deer on the ground through his scope, but couldn’t tell if it was dead.

Finally, he couldn’t stand it any longer. He started down the tree, but took his time.

“I’d go one notch and look; I’d go another notch and look,” Hall said.

When he finally got out of the stand and hurried to the buck, he was astounded.

“I just laid back in the leaves and said, ‘Thank you, Lord,’” Hall said. “I would sit up and look at the deer, and lay back down in the leaves and just roll around saying, ‘Thank you, Lord.’

“I bet I did that a dozen times.”

The buck’s rack was something to behold, with double main beams on one side and 16 scoreable points including drop tines on both sides.

It later taped out at 182 6/8 B&C.

When he got back to the camp and his brother, who didn’t hunt that afternoon, arrived, Hall said there was some short-lived sibling rivalry.

“The first reaction was like any other person: He was proud but envious,” Hall chuckled.

Raymond Hall continued to hunt, and on Dec. 28 thought he might be able to reclaim the big-buck honors while hunting a long, narrow food plot dubbed the Morgue because of its penchant for producing kills.

“I had seen a couple of deer,” Raymond Hall said. “I was watching a doe, a 4-point and a spike.”

The Brandon hunter was just enjoying the show when another deer appeared.

“I happened to look back at the right far corner, and he stepped out to get a bite to eat,” Raymond Hall said.

That the deer was a buck was obvious even from a distance, but Raymond Hall picked up his binoculars just to be sure it was what he was looking for.

“I didn’t have to look hard,” he said.

The deer was a huge 8-point, so the hunter picked up his rifle and put the deer on the ground.

“It was so quick I didn’t have the time to get buck fever like I usually do,” Raymond Hall said.

The excited hunter climbed out of the stand, but as he walked closer, he realized the animal was still alive.

“I went ahead and shot him again just to be sure he was down,” Raymond Hall said.

As he approached the deer, however, he was startled.

“I thought for a second he was sitting up looking at me,” Raymond Hall said.

However, a look through the scope proved that the deer was dead.

“It was just one side of its antlers was sticking up so high,” he said.

The rack was beastly, especially for an 8-point. The inside spread taped out at 21½ inches, and the longest main beam stretched an incredible 27 5/8 inches.

It later greenscored 165 2/8 B&C.

“I just jumped and screamed,” Raymond Hall said. “I couldn’t believe it. I finally decided I had to get the four-wheeler, but I got 50 yards from him and had to go back and look at him again.”

Brad Hall was ecstatic that that two such bucks would be killed in one season, but he said the credit didn’t lie with him or his brother.

“I told (Raymond), ‘What a blessing it is for the Lord to see fit for both of us to get record deer in the same year,’” Brad Hall said. “You can hunt the best place in the world, and if God doesn’t let you see a deer, you can’t kill him.”

Just something legal

Chris Galloway of Walker, La., has hunted Sandy Creek Wildlife Management Area for years, and his standards are pretty clear.

“It’s got to be 12 inches wide on that WMA, and I’m just looking for something that’s legal,” Galloway said.

That’s all he was hoping for when he hung a stand near a pine thicket.

“The thicket was on some land next to the WMA, and I knew there had to be deer in there,” Galloway said. “A deer is like a rabbit: He’s got to have a thicket.”

However, when he returned for the opening day of muzzleloader season, a truck was parked near the stand.

“I knew they had to be somewhere in there, so I just went somewhere else,” he said.

Galloway drove to another part of the property, got out and started easing through the woods.

“I found some sign along a creek,” he said. “There were some old hookings, and next to those were some new hookings. I’m talking about trees 2 to 3 inches in circumference; nothing big.”

After looking a bit more, Galloway found a couple of scrapes. So he pulled out his GPS and checked his position relative to his stand.

“I was only about a half mile from the stand,” he said. “I thought, ‘I can get in the truck and drive three miles around to get to the stand, or I walk a half mile straight to it.”

So after waiting until about noon, Galloway retrieved his stand and set it up on the creek.

“I hunted it a couple of times, but I just wasn’t satisfied,” he said. “So I looked around some more.”

Only 100 yards from the creek, he found an active scrape line; he quickly repositioned his stand on a ridge that provided a good shot at the scrape line.

That’s where he was sitting on Dec. 5, when he heard something moving to his left about 9:30 a.m.

“All I could see was this deer from the neck back,” Galloway said.

The animal was only about 70 yards away, but the deer’s head was behind some bushes.

“He turned his head to lick himself or something, and I said to myself, ‘This deer’s got good horns,’” Galloway said.

However, the exact size of the rack still was a mystery.

“I just knew he was legal,” he said.

A quick shot put the deer down, but Galloway found a buck that more than met the management criteria.

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

On the buck’s head was a rack sprouting from 5 1/2-inch bases and stretching to 17 inches. Around the thick frame were arrayed 15 scorable points.

“It’s a nice one,” Galloway said.

The buck greenscored 177 2/8 B&C.

Calling ’em in

Danny Paul Thompson and some other friends are invited to hunt a lease west of Hazelhurst every year, and it’s always an enjoyable time.

But when Thompson reached the lease on Dec. 27, he was rushed to get on the stand.

“We didn’t get there until about 2:30,” he said.

However, he knew exactly where he wanted to hunt: a woods stand in the middle of the property.

“I’ve killed two 8-pointers and a 10 out of that stand,” Thompson said.

As soon as he got settled into the stand, the Pontchatoula, La., hunter pulled out a Primos Can and a buck grunt.

“I hit that Can three times and grunted five times,” Thompson said. “I did that every 10 minutes.”

About 3:30 p.m., a buck appeared in the woods.

“I saw him walking down a ridge,” he said. “He was just taking his time.”

It clearly was a shooter, but Thompson said he didn’t pay much attention to the rack.

“I never saw how big he was,” he said.

Finally, the buck offered a clear shot, and Thompson fired. The deer ran about 40 yards and hit the ground.

“I got down and looked at it, but I still didn’t realize how big he was,” Thompson said. “I got back in the stand and started using that Can and grunt again.”

However, the buck was not just any shooter: It was a real dandy.

The big 9-point had a 21 1/8-inch inside spread and 6-inch bases, and it was greenscored by Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop, La., at 177 1/8 B&C.

“The 10-point I killed off that stand last year was the biggest deer killed on the place until I killed this one,” Thompson said.

He said it took some time for the kill to really sink in.

“It took me three days to realize how big he was,” he said.

Got it all on tape

Troy Turner was planning to video a kill when he reached his Jefferson County lease on Dec. 2, the opening day of muzzleloader season.

An old college buddy, Jeremy Lamkin, was with him, and couldn’t hunt because he hadn’t purchased a license, so Lamkin was going to film the hunt.

The day was less than ideal.

“It was hot and windy that morning,” Turner said. “It was one of those days we didn’t know if we’d see anything.”

However, the two climbed into a stand overlooking a huge thicket through which several shooting lanes were cut.

Just as light began filtering over the horizon, the hunters spied a deer.

“It was a buck slipping across the lane,” Turner said. “It was still dark enough that you could tell it was a buck, but you couldn’t make it out good.”

The deer quickly disappeared into the thicket, and the Hammond, La., hunter began watching the next lane in hopes that the buck would make its way there.

However, Lamkin soon tapped Turner and pointed out a deer on another lane.

“He was just slipping across the back end of the lane,” Turner said. “He was about 80 yards out.”

The light was still pretty poor, but Turner new it was a nice buck.

“I could see his left side, and I could see those long tines,” he said.

Turner quickly brought his muzzleloader to bear.

“I bleated at him, and he stopped and looked at us,” he said. “That’s when I could see he had both sides.”

The muzzleloader belched, and smoke obscured the view.

“When the smoke cleared, he was on the ground,” Turner said.

The two men climbed down and hurried to the deer, but couldn’t believe what they found.

“I knew he was a good deer, but I didn’t have any idea he was that good,” Turner said.

The buck was only an 8-point, but it was a world-class 8-point.

The main frames measured 19¼ inches inside, and sprouted from 6-inch foundations. The G-2s stretched to 12½ and 11¾ inches, with the G-3s not missing that mark by much.

“We carry radios with us, and I called my Dad, who was hunting that morning,” Turner said. “I told him, ‘I don’t want to mess up your hunt, but we’ve got something on the ground you might want to see. It’s the biggest deer we’ve killed on the place.’”

His father, Eddie Turner, didn’t even hesitate.

“He said, ‘No, I’m coming over there,’” the younger Turner said. “He came over and celebrated with us.”

The buck later greenscored 160 4/8 B&C.

Unfortunately, the kill wasn’t recorded.

“(Lamkin) had the camera and he had it rolling, but the camera wasn’t gathering enough light,” Turner said. “You can hear us, and you can see the smoke out the muzzleloader, but you can’t see the deer.”

Second-chance buck

Anne Rogers admits she’s just a budding hunter, but even she knew the 8-point was a big one.

Rogers first saw the deer on Thanksgiving Day when it stepped out at about 160 yards.

“I was in a stand with (husband) Steve,” she said. “He was just saying, ‘Let it get a little closer,’ and boom.

“It was a clean miss.”

The buck disappeared, but Anne Rogers was hooked.

“I’ve just never been so excited,” she said. “I went back every change I got.

“I wouldn’t let anybody else hunt this stand.”

And amazingly, she saw the buck several times.

“Every time I’d see him, he’d stay inside the tree line,” Rogers said. “I probably saw it three or four times.”

The novice hunter did everything she could think of to lure the buck out into the open, including using scent. However, all efforts were ignored.

A full month later, on Dec. 26, Rogers was sitting in the box stand overlooking the food plot again.

A doe stepped out into the plot, and behind it was the 8-pointer.

The buck eased out into the open at only 120 yards, and Rogers was ready.

“I shot, and he was still standing,” she said. “I couldn’t believe I had missed him again.

“By the time I ejected the shell, he was gone.”

Rogers sat in the stand fretting for 15 to 20 minutes, still amazed that she could miss the same deer twice.

“I climbed out of the stand practically in tears,” she explained.

She hurried to where she had last seen the deer, determined to keep the miss to herself.

“I wasn’t going to tell this time,” she laughed.

However, keeping her mouth shut wasn’t necessary because Rogers found a wondrous surprise on the edge of the woods.

“There he was, dead as a doornail,” Rogers said.

The buck’s rack was an incredible 21 inches inside, and had unbelievably long tines.

It was roughed out at 160 B&C.

This is the trail camera photo that let Malouf know “Big Freak Nasty” was still alive.
Trey Burton got a second chance on this 20-point buck on a Dec. 7 hunt.
Cody Woods, 16, didn’t exactly know what size buck he had until he walked up on this 15-pointer killed on the last day of rifle season.
Brad Hall took advantage of a newly accessible thicket that contained this 16-point buck and earned him bragging rights.
Raymond Hall shows off his beastly buck, which greenscored 165 2/8.
Chris Galloway got more than he hoped for back in December when this 15-point buck appeared before him one early morning.
Danny Paul Thompson outdid himself with this large 9-point buck that greenscored 177 1/8.
Troy Turner may not have clear video of his kill, but he wasn’t disappointed after finding out he’d taken this world-class 8-pointer.
Anne Rogers may be a novice hunter, but that didn’t stop her from securing this giant 8-point buck on Dec. 26.
 





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