There’s just something about intuition and deer hunting that seem to go hand in hand. You know: That inexplicable feeling that makes you look in a certain direction at just the right time or use a call exactly when you need to.
Or, in the case of Matt Moss, trusting your gut to hunt a certain stand for no particular reason — only to kill a buck that measured more than 216 inches Boone and Crockett, making it a potential Top 10 buck in Mississippi's Magnolia Records.
When the LSU-Shreveport Medical School student and his twin brother Brent left their home in Lake Charles on the morning of Dec. 29 and headed to their hunting lease in Jefferson County, Moss decided to try something he’d been wanting to do all season long.
“For some reason, I just wanted to hunt this certain stand. Several other deer had been taken from this stand, and I just wanted to try something new,” he said.
The brothers got to the lease and made it to the woods right on time. The stand that Moss had been daydreaming about was nothing fancy — just a simple two-man ladder stand that sits 5 to 10 yards inside a wood line overlooking a small clover field.
Not only was his choice of a stand simple, but the caliber of rifle he chose to hunt with that day was nothing fancy, either.
“I knew this field was a small field, and I like using my .45-70 because it’s light, and I could carry it up and down the tree stand easier,” he said.
The damp woods and mild temperatures seemed ideal for hunting, and 30 minutes after getting settled in the stand he heard leaves rustling in the distance. So he kept his eyes peeled into the woods. He was surprised five minutes later by a flock of turkeys making their way to the clover field.
About 4 p.m., he heard more noise fairly close, and was expecting to see more turkeys.
“About 50 yards from me, I could see a deer and antlers. I really didn’t know what it was, but as soon as I saw his nasty rack, I knew that I was going to shoot it,” Moss said.
Already fully aware that the buck had multiple main beams, Moss watched the buck and waited for the perfect time to raise his rifle for a shot.
“He was in the woods checking the field for does, just skirting around it,” Moss said.
With no does in sight, the buck simply turned and headed deeper into the woods, never getting close to the edge of the field. Moss knew his chance at the trophy was fading, and took a shot when the deer walked through an opening at 40 yards.
The buck immediately ran off, so Moss climbed down and found a small amount of blood. He sent Brent a text telling him he’d shot a big deer but didn’t know too much about the size.
With good blood to follow, the brothers didn’t have any problem finding the prize at the end of the trail.
What they saw left them speechless.
“For about a minute or two we didn’t know what to do,” Moss said. “We just kind of stood there in shock.”
The buck’s rack is truly something to behold.
The right side has six beautiful typical points, with three small stickers on the base — but it’s the left side that has jaws dropping around the country.
Nine points total sit on the left side that includes two main beams, the longest of which is just over 25 inches long.
If the gross score of 216 6/8 inches holds up after the 30-day drying period, Moss’s deer would be tied as the 11th largest non-typical ever killed in Mississippi, according to the Magnolia Records. It would shave to lose more than 10 inches to fall out of the Top 20 list.
“Another club member has a shed from him, and we believe that it was a typical deer last year, and this year he became a nontypical and grew an additional 40 extra inches,” Moss said. “We’re not exactly sure what happened.”
Click here to read about other big bucks killed this season.
And don’t forget to enter photos of your deer in the Big Buck Photo Contest to be eligible for great monthly prizes.