You won't hear Billy Bean of Una cursing the rainy weather that plagued deer hunters over the final week of the gun season throughout Mississippi.

Hadn't been for it, he'd have never gotten the 153-inch massive 10-point he shot Tuesday (Jan. 15), the penultimate day of gun season, at his camp in Monroe County.

"My day started with me packing for a three-day work trip to McComb," said Bean, a surveyor. "But with all that rain, which wouldn't stop, there was no way I was going to be able to work down there. So I decided to work Tuesday morning in the office and then try to find a shooting house to sit in that afternoon."

Only two days remained in the gun season, and Bean was hoping to get one more shot at a big buck.

"I had already killed a pretty good 123-inch 8-point in December so I wasn't going to shoot anything smaller than that," he said. "I thought my last chance would be Monday, because I was going to be on the road the rest of the week. But then I got Tuesday afternoon, it was my last day I was going to get to hunt and it paid off."

He drove from his deer-season cabin near Houlka to his nearby club, but was disappointed when he arrived at the check-in station.

Another hunter had already put his peg on the stand where Bean actually wanted to spend the afternoon. His second choice was unoccupied, and he had a history there and headed out in the sorry
conditions.

"It was an old leaky shooting house in an area where I had gotten tons of pictures of the 176-inch monster Caleb Smart killed (Prayer leads to 170-inch buck for Monroe County youth hunter) last year about 400 yards away, across a highway," Bean said. "I had also gotten one photo of another big buck there last year. I think it was this same buck, but I hadn't gotten any of him this year."

Bean made it to the shooting house at 2 p.m., and immediately began dodging the dripping rain finding its way through the sieve of a roof. Fortunately, he wouldn't have to wait long for action.

"At 2:15, two does walked across the muddy field at about 200 yards," Bean said. "After 30 more minutes of dodging the leaks, I noticed movement about 250 yards away. I glassed the spot and saw a definite shooter eating honey suckles.

"He finally turned broadside after five minutes of eating and I took a shot. He just looked up trying to figure out what it was."

A clean miss, Bean said. The buck did his part, posing for another shot, which Bean sent down range from his Remington .30-06.

"I missed again, but, luckily, the buck ran across the field angling closer to me from left to right," he said.

Having missed twice while the buck was standing still at 250 yards, Bean would get one more chance at a speeding target at 175 yards.

"I finally appeared to hit him on the run right as he was going into the woods," he said. "After 30 minutes, I got down from the shooting house, walked to where I thought he went into the woods and I never saw blood."

What he did see was better.

"There was this huge buck propped against a tree just 10 yards in the woods," Bean said, "and he was much bigger than I had thought.

"I said a prayer thanking my Lord and savior Jesus Christ and called my best friend, who is also my twin brother Jim, to come help me drag that big buck through the rain and mud to the truck."

Back at camp, the two brothers put a tape to the big buck.

"We were really amazed at the mass," Bean said. "He had 39 inches total of circumference measurements."

The buck produced other impressive stats, including a 19 6/8-inch inside spread, 25-inch main beams and 6-inch bases. What it didn't have was a lot of tine length that limited the score. The brow tines were 4 inches and the G2s and G3s were all about 7 inches -- longer tines and this symmetrical and thick-horned buck would have pushed the 170-inch B&C minimum for typicals. Not that it mattered to Bean.

Despite the rainy and cold conditions and having to settle for a second-choice stand, the hunter rated the experience as "an awesome day of hunting!"

Click here to read about other big bucks killed this season.

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