Before Dan Hall would discuss the giant buck he killed Dec. 19 near Port Gibson — and rest assured it is one to brag about for days — he first had to explain just how good this entire season has been.
The 181-inch (gross, green score) 14-point is just gravy.
“You have to understand me now, this is the hunt of a lifetime, a dream hunting season,” said Hall, of Vicksburg. “I’ve hunted all my life and there is nothing that can compare. I have been so lucky.”
So good, you should know, that Hall hasn’t hunted much since he shot the big buck.
“I can’t, because we have a two-buck limit on our lease and I am bucked out,” he said. “I can only take does and I was fortunate enough to take a 130-pounder the other day. I have two good bucks and a freezer full of venison.”
Hall’s season started nicely.
“On the third day of the gun season, I shot a big 8-point, a big one, like 250 pounds, and it was about 15 inches wide and had some decent mass,” he said. “I thought, ‘man, this is my buck of the year.’ And, I would have been happy with that. It was a big buck, as good as I’ve ever killed.
“But who’d have thought I’d get a shot at something bigger. I never thought I would.”
On Dec. 17, Hall was sitting in a stand hunting a cypress brake.
“I looked up and I had another big 8-point walking right at me,” he said. “I let him walk up to 30 yards. I could have easily shot him, several times, but I decided that since he wasn’t better than the 8-point I had already killed, I wouldn’t shoot him. I didn’t want to buck out.
“I was watching him, and I noticed that he stopped and started looking back over to his right. He was just standing there staring back at something, and I remember thinking, ‘man, what is he looking at?’ But he was so close I couldn’t really move, so I just sat there watching him. Finally, after about 10 or 15 minutes, he looked back down and then just walked off.”
When the 8-point had turned and put some distance between them, Hall finally felt it was safe to look to his left. What he saw 120 yards away nearly took his breath.
“I eased my head around and looked and I said, ‘oh my goodness,’” he said. “I knew he was a big one and it didn’t take me four seconds to get my gun off and shoot him. He buckled and ran into this small thicket there to his left and I guess he stopped in there and then he ran back out in an opening in the sage grass and he went down and died. I saw him fall. There was no blood trailing.”
Hall said it took him a few seconds to gather all his stuff, put on all his gear and head for the deer.
“I made it over there pretty quick, but I still had no idea what I had shot,” he said. “Then when I got close and I could see those antlers sticking up above the sage grass, I knew I had a big one.”
The massive antlers rose high because the beams are long and wide.
“He was 20¾ inches wide and his main beams were both just under 26 inches long,” Hall said. “They almost made a circle. They both looped out pretty far and the way they were cocked, they rose above the grass.
“The buck, I guess, you’d call him a main-frame 8-point, but he has a split brow tine and G2 on the left side, and he has a bunch of sticker points coming out of the left base. The bases were both nearly 6 inches and they hold that mass pretty good all the way out through the beams. He is a great buck. I feel so blessed.”
Still, Hall said, the magnitude of the buck didn’t really hit him. He was taking pictures of the deer with his phone and one of his fellow camp members said that wouldn’t do.
“Lucky for me, he was there and he said, ‘Dan, you don’t know what you just did,’” Hall said. “He got his camera and we took the buck out in the fields and set him up and got some great photos. I’m glad he was there.”
Just another sign that this is indeed one of those special seasons that few hunters ever experience.
“It sure is special,” Hall said. “Everything just fell into place. Think about it, when I was in that stand before I shot that big buck, if I hadn’t decided to pass on that other 8-point I’d have never gotten a shot at the big one. Probably would never have seen him.”
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Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.