Derek Broom of Sumrall has traveled extensively in the United States in search of a giant buck, visiting all the big-deer states like Texas, Kentucky, Illinois and Kansas.
“Can you believe that I’ve been to so many places, spent so much money and then I come home and kill the biggest buck I’ve ever seen about 300 yards outside my back door,” said Broom. “I killed it right here in Jeff Davis County.”
The location makes the story of his 167-inch “irregular” 17-point killed on Dec. 30 even more remarkable, he said.
“We just don’t have bucks like that around here, in south Jeff Davis County, just a few miles above Lamar County,” Broom said. “I think Jeff Davis County has only two non-typical bucks listed in Magnolia Records, and they didn’t come from this end of the county.”
There are two non-typical listings, including a 170 1/8 and a 164 6/8, and 11 typicals between the 125 minimum and 152 2/8 inches. Where Broom’s final score will fit on that list will have to wait for the 60-day drying period.
And that includes whether or not the rack will be scored as typical or non-typical.
“I’m not sure if the correct description of this buck is non-typical,” he said. “He had 17 points, and I think 15 are scoreable, but most of them originate on the main beam. It’s got a lot of irregular points, so I just call him irregular instead of non-typical. I don’t know how an official scorer will score him.
“We used the Boone and Crockett directions and we’ve done that before and been pretty accurate so I think the 167 total will be close. But this rack is so weird that there’s no telling. It’s got so many strange points and characteristics that we’re not sure what the final score will be.”
The location and the odd antlers aren’t the only weird part of this story. The whole account of the morning hunt is pretty strange.
“We killed it running dogs, which is something you don’t see with trophy bucks these days,” Broom said. “It’s funny, too, that this was a buck that none of us had really ever seen on our property where we run deer. I’ve heard rumors of a big, odd buck, but nothing concrete. I heard one of my neighbors had a big one on cam and he wasn’t hunting it.
“And, my cousin told me he had seen one back in September that was big. But until I checked my trail cam on my little food plot behind my house early that morning (Dec. 30), I had never seen him. He was on camera in my food plot overnight.”
When Broom saw the pictures, he knew what he had to do.
“My hunting buddies were already out with their dogs and were ringing our property and I went back home and got my pack of dogs and took them to the food plot and turned them out,” he said. “They took off in the direction of the cutover where all the other guys and their dogs were. I got in behind them and drove down there.”
By the time Broom got in position, the dogs had jumped a buck.
“One of the guys shot a big 5-point down and when he did, he saw this giant-rack buck get up and take off,” Broom said. “Somebody shot and missed him and I had a pretty good idea of where he was going, and I was in position near this big field when he cut the far end of it. I shot twice while he was running, and missed both times at like 200 yards.
“I still had a good idea of where he was going so I jumped in my truck and hurried over to cut him off again. I got over there near the edge of our property and was in position when he came out of the brush and started up this hill. He had about a quarter-mile or three-eighths of a mile to go before he made it back over to the neighbor’s place where he lived.”
Fortunately for Broom, the buck felt like he needed to turn and take one more look back.
“He stopped broadside, and at 70 yards, I shot him with my .243. He turned and ran back down the hill and collapsed and died,” he said. “Then, as you can imagine, all heck broke loose. It was a madhouse and it has been that way since. You don’t understand the impact a buck that big can have in an area like this.
“I called my cousin who had seen the buck back in September and he said, ‘yep, that’s him.’ And I told my neighbor about it, too, and word got around to about everybody and it’s like a legend here now.”
Broom said he knows what led to the buck’s demise.
“It was getting about that time for him to have interest in the women,” he said, referring to the oncoming rut. “The deer just screwed up. This is a dog-hunting club. Bucks are bad about coming over here at night to mess with the women and then leave before sunrise.
“This time he got too interested in the girls and it cost him. That's all it can be. They got him in trouble.”
The antlers have great mass for that area, over five inches at the base and the smallest of the eight circumference measurements (four on each side) was 4 1/8 inches. It wasn’t wide, only 14 7/8 inches, and the main beams were a modest 22½ and 21½ inches.
“But it just has so many points on those beams and that includes a couple of really weird ones, like one on the left side that was broken off that looks like a broken thumb,” Broom said. “If that one hadn’t broken off, I think he’d have another six or seven inches and be over 170.
“I’ll be honest with you, this deer doesn’t look like it came from around here. It looks like one of those Kansas bruisers.”
The stuff of legends in Jeff Davis County Mississippi.
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