Before telling Chad Ridout’s story about killing a Neshoba County trophy buck, there’s this important message for his employer Mississippi Power Company.
He was not playing hooky on Oct. 4 when he claimed his 10-point, 154 6/8-inch rack, which was still in full velvet.
“No, I had a doctor’s appointment at 8 a.m., so I had to take the morning off,” said Ridout, 34, a refinery technician for the electric company. “The night before, my wife said to me, ‘If you don’t have to be to the doctor until 8, I’ll bet you’re going hunting.’ I thought about it, and it sure made sense.
“I was hunting real close to home. It’s on her grandfather’s property right here near House, which is on Highway 15 between Meridian and Philadelphia.”
And Ridout knew exactly where to go and what he was after.
“Her granddaddy had been seeing this big buck coming to a pond in his field from his house,” he said. “You can see the pond from his porch. The field was an old hayfield that he planted in pines when he quit farming, and it sits right next to a 12-acre block of hardwoods.
“It’s kind of strange, really; I call it an urbanized hunting area because there are a lot of homes around that little block of woods. I mean it’s rural and not in a city or anything, but it’s kind of urban-like.”
The buck certainly felt right at home, that’s for sure.
“He was pretty set in his ways,” Ridout said. “He would walk every day from those woods to that pond to get a sip of water. He would follow the same trail nearly every day. He was patterned, is what he was.
“If there was ever a deer that had a pattern, it was this guy. When (his granddaddy) kept telling me about this buck he’d been watching come get a drink every day, I went down there and put up some trail cams. Over five weeks — that’s 35 days — I bet there were no more than five days when I didn’t have trail cam photos of him doing the same thing on the same trail, walking from his bedding area to his watering hole.
“That’s like one in seven days he’d do something different.”
The buck was like clockwork, too.
“He would pass the cams at nearly the same two times every day: 6:30 in the morning and 7 in the evening,” Ridout said. “He was sure set in his ways.”
It made Ridout’s choice for stand location easy. His plan for opening day was to get in his tree stand that he had put up three weeks early, and be ready when the buck came by at 6:30 a.m.
“I took off work on Tuesday (Oct. 1), which was opening day, and went down there to hunt him.” Ridout said. “I was walking into my stand early that morning, and I ran into that buck. He was already coming back from the water hole. He had beaten me to the stand.
“I checked my trail cams and, sure enough, I had a picture of him walking past the cam, and then I had a picture of me walking past the cam.
“But I didn’t bust him; I was walking in and I had my green flashlight and I saw him standing there. I froze, and he just walked off slowly toward his bedding area. Brother, let me tell you, those green lights work. It’s like deer don’t even see it.”
Ridout went back that afternoon but never saw the buck.
“Guess it was one of those one-in-seven days,” he said.
Ridout’s next chance would be the quick hunt on Friday morning (Oct. 4) before the doctor’s visit.
“This time, I did something different just in case the same thing happened,” the hunter said. “Instead of walking the fence line along the field and turning and going to the stand from the north, like I had on Tuesday, I went past the stand, turned and came to it from the south.
“That way, if he was still at the pond or on his way back, I wouldn’t booger him up.”
The plan worked. Ridout made it to his spot, a 16-foot ladder stand against a muscadine tree, well hidden by muscadine vines with a thick elm tree between it and the trail.
“Shoot, I have a hard time finding it, so I wasn’t worried about him seeing it,” Ridout said. “I was in the stand at 6 and at 6:35, right when he was supposed to, there he come down the trail from the pond. He was at 50 or 60 yards, and was walking on that trail. I had cut shooting lanes in the elm limbs, and he walked right into one of the windows at 11 steps.”
Ridout made a perfect shot with his PSE X-Force bow, sending a 100-grain Rage broadhead down through the left shoulder and out the right side in the crease of the leg. It went straight through the heart.
“I found the blood and the arrow, but left him,” he said. “I went to the doctor, called a buddy, and he came and we started looking.
“The trail was easy to follow and we found him about 60 yards from where I shot him.”
The antlers sported 10 points on 22 ½- and 21 ¼-inch main beams. It had a 16 ½-inch inside spread with good mass, thanks to the velvet.
A taxidermist green scored it at 154 6/8 inches, giving Ridout his third buck over 150 inches.
“We had good trail cams of him last year, and he was about a 140-inch 9-point,” he said. “What he did was grow a G4 on his left side.
“He was a brute, too, 220 pounds — what we call up here a Neshoba County mule.”
Click here to read about other big bucks killed this season.
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