Any honest deer hunter will tell you that when it comes to shooting a mature buck, there’s a certain level of luck involved. Planning and preparation do play a role in the process, but when Justin Braswell of Greenwood pulled the trigger on a big buck while hunting the afternoon of Dec. 18, he definitely had Lady Luck in his back pocket.
Knowing that it was the tail end of the rut for Tallahatchie County, Braswell decided to take off work and hunt that afternoon, hoping that the deer would be up and moving about, with no idea what laid in wait for him.
“We never had a trail camera picture of this buck,” Braswell said. “We had a good one last year on camera but we’re not sure if this is him or not.”
When he arrived at his stand around 2:00 p.m. the light northwest wind and overcast sky was just the type of conditions that he wanted.
He patiently watched the power line laced in wheat and oats for several hours when finally at 4:50 p.m. two does and a 6-point walked out.
“The 6-point started walking away from me,” Braswell said. “I wondered why he was going that way and when he got about 200 yards from me another doe popped out and I figured that was why.”
Braswell was a little surprised as he watched the young buck slip back into the WRP that surrounded the area. While watching the deer ease through the brush, he glanced back at his lane and there stood a monster of a buck. The width of the horns were easily seen from his stand and he didn’t waste any time.
“I didn’t even get my binoculars or anything, I just went straight for my rifle,” Braswell said.
The excited hunter quickly put his rifle out of the window and when his crosshairs found the target, he squeezed the trigger.
“He kind of whirled around a little funny and didn’t really run off, he just made two hops and was gone back into the WRP,” Braswell said. “That’s when I lost him and thought that he was dead right there.”
Braswell still had no idea just how big the buck he’d just seen actually was.
“All I knew was that he was a shooter because I could see the tips of his horns and how wide they were, but that’s it,” he said.
Enter Lady Luck.
As he glassed the area, making sure that the buck was down, he looked back into the lane and there the deer stood, quartered away from him. The shocked hunter knew that getting two shots at a deer of this size is rare and composed himself before pulling the trigger.
“When I saw him, I rifled another round, shouldered my gun again, and took my time,” Braswell said. “I even took a deep breath and slowly exhaled before firing.”
The shot from his Remington 7MM Ultra Mag brought the deer down in its tracks at 207 yards. Still not fully knowing the massive size of the animal that he’d just brought down, Braswell quickly gathered his gear.
“When I finally walked up on him, I yelled out something and jumped about as high as my truck,” he said. “I could not believe how great of a deer this was. I called my brother-in-law and told him that I’d just killed the biggest deer of my life and by the time he got there, I’d walked a mud hole around the deer from amazement.”
As it turns out, Braswell never touched the deer with the first shot and the fact that he got another shot immediately following the first one, is something that he’ll always remember.
“I’ve named him second chance because he gave me that second shot,” Braswell said.
The deer is an exquisite main frame 10 with two nontypical points in front of its G2’s that are 12 inches long each, a spread of 23 ¼ inches, and a gross score of 193 4/8 inches.
“We ended up scoring him nontypical,” Braswell said. “If we’d have scored it typical then that would have been about 24 inches of deductions, but his left side and his right side are only less than an inch difference, so it’s very symmetrical.”
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