The self-gifting paid off on Christmas Eve when Howard used the rifle to down an 11-point monster buck near Vaughan in Yazoo County. The buck had a green score of 152 and featured not only a kicker, but a non-typical drop tine. The inside spread measured 19 3/8 inches and had a base of 6 inches. The mighty buck weighed in at a whopping 245 pounds and was estimated to be 5 ½ years old
Christmas Eve seemed like the perfect day for hunting deer, Howard said. The temperature was crisp, but dropping in front of the strong frontal system that moved across the south on Christmas Day. It didn't take much convincing to talk her friend Bo Boatner into making a hunt to some private land not far from Howard's home.
"We got there about 2:30 or 2:45 in the afternoon and it was sunny, but cold," she said. "There wasn't that much wind at that point, but the storm was coming. We figured the deer would be moving.
"We saw one buck on the way and we watched him for about 10 minutes before it went back (into the woods). Bo said 'I bet you some more will come out.' Well, about 4 (p.m.), we saw two does about 200 yards out. We watched one eat about 45 minutes and probably about 5:05 (p.m.) she looked back and then the big buck came out."
Howard scoped the male, but he wasn't going to make things easy for her.
"He was about 220 yards away," she said. "He was going to smell the doe and then she kind of moved away. Then, they began trotting around. I thought to myself, just breathe. I knew I couldn't get a shot off with him trotting around like that, so I hollered at him. I just made a noise like 'Bah.' He stopped and put his front leg down and that's when he gave me a clear body shot."
Howard's aim was true, as the bullet from her new Ruger hit the buck near the heart and lungs. He ran, however, so Howard and Boatner gathered flashlights expecting to trail the deer into the evening.
"I saw a lot of blood, so I knew I hit him in a good spot," she said. "We followed the trail into the woods, and then it just stopped. So we went back and started again. That time, we got there and Bo said 'Oh my! There he is!' I knew the deer was big but I had no idea it was this big. I started tripping over myself. I couldn't speak. But I did call my mom to tell her that I killed a buck with a drop tine."
The deer is now at a local taxidermist and eventually will occupy a place of honor on Howard's dining room wall.
"I'm a big duck hunter, so I have a lot of those there," Howard said. "And I killed an 11-point before that scored 135 or so But this one is special. I'll have a nice place for him."
Click here to read about other big bucks killed this season.
Don't forget to post images of your own bucks in the Big Buck Contest, which is free to all registered members. Not a site member yet? It's free, so click here to get started today!