Nathan Howell and his 8-year-old son Cooper had one of the shortest — and best — hunts of their lives in Grenada County on New Year’s Eve. Only minutes after they sat down in a stand, a 170-inch monster buck was cooling on the ground.

Howell, who lives in Grenada and hunts private land in Grenada County, said he grabbed his son as soon as he got off work that day and headed into the woods with his gun, some orange and a video camera.

The two set up in a box blind overlooking a long right-of-way cutting through a pine plantation, and they had just gotten settled in when a huge buck stepped into the open some 250 yards away.

“We weren’t in the stand 30 minutes when this big buck stepped out,” said Howell. “I’ve got trail cams up all over the property, but this is (buck) I had never seen on camera or anywhere on the property before.”

Taking careful aim with his Thompson/Center Encore .300 Win Mag, Howell pulled the trigger and the deer buckled where it was standing. Scrambling to reload the single-shot rifle in case a second shot was necessary, Howell waited a few minutes before he and Cooper got down to make the victory walk.

“Most of the time, a buck gets smaller the closer you get to him on the ground,” Howell said. “This one kept getting bigger the closer we got to him.”

Howell said he had seen some nice-sized deer on this particular pipeline off in the distance across his property line, but couldn’t be sure he had ever seen the deer he had shot in that number.

“He’s got a very unique-looking rack,” Howell said. “A friend and I green scored the buck right at 171 inches. He’s got an inside spread of 23 inches and giant G3s that measure 11 inches.

“He’s got 9 points but will probably be scored as an 8-point because of one broken tine.”

Howell said the mass on the deer’s rack is reminiscent of a 174-inch deer he killed up in Kansas some years ago, but this deer is by far the biggest buck he has ever killed in Mississippi.

“I was happy to kill this deer, but what makes it even better was that Cooper could be in the stand with me when it happened,” he said. “He killed a nice deer earlier this season, and now both of us have a deer season to remember.”

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