Earlier this deer season, Guntown’s Nash Stanford needed and used perseverance to take a trophy public-lands buck on Upper Sardis Wildlife Management Area near Oxford.
Last week, Stanford showed another admirable trait — patience — and took down his second monster buck on his private Pontotoc County hunting lease. His latest deer scored out at almost 145 inches.
Add his two deer together and Stanford has had one of the greatest seasons ever reported by a Mississippi sportsman, earning him a listing as one of the state’s best deer hunters.
“I just turned a great hunting season into my own personal dream season with killing two world-class deer in one year,” Stanford said.
An understatement, since the bucks totaled a combined 299 inches.
The Upper Sardis buck he killed Dec. 13 with a primitive weapon was a 154 1/8-inch 10-point.
The Pontotoc County buck was killed Jan. 4 with his Thompson/Center 7mm magnum, and was a 144 7/8-inch main-frame 10 point with two stickers.
He waited to hunt the deer for a month so he would have just the right conditions.
“I had one picture of this deer on Dec. 7, and I have been trying to kill him since then,” Stanford said. “The problem I had was that the spot where he was staying I would need a good northwest wind, and winds have been variable the past couple of weeks.
“When hunting mature whitetails, having the right wind is probably the most-important factor. Mature deer are older and a lot smarter than your younger 2- and 3-year-old deer.”
Rather than risk busting the buck with the wrong wind, Stanford was patient and only hunted those days when the wind blew out of the northwest.
He got just what he needed on Jan. 4.
“It was a windy day, with 15-mph winds due to a cold front that was about to move in,” Stanford said. “I figured with this front moving and the temperatures starting to drop during the day, it might have the deer moving a little earlier.
“I arrived at my stand around 2:45 that afternoon and didn’t see anything until 4:15 I looked down the draw in front of me and saw what appeared to be antlers; I wasn't sure at first because the wind was blowing so hard I thought it could have been tree limbs.”
Stanford waited for a sign, staring at what he thought might be antlers.
“I stared for minutes until I saw him pick his head up, and at the same time he stepped into the lane about 70 to 80 yards in front of me,” the hunter said. “The first thing I noticed about this buck was the mass: He had plenty of it.”
Stanford kept his wits and stayed patient.
“I didn't shoot him right away because I still had a few limbs in my way and I wanted to make a good shot, so I waited a couple of minutes,” he said. “The wind was perfect, and I knew there was no way this deer could catch my scent.
“As I waited and took my time, he eventually offered me a good, clear shot. I squeezed the trigger, and watched as the buck ran about 30 yards and piled up.”
What Stanford saw as good mass was actually great mass.
“His bases are almost 6 inches around, and the main beams are 22 inches long,” he said. “His mass carried all the way out, and (measured) 5 inches at the tips.”
Click here to read other stories on huge Mississippi bucks killed this season.
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