Jim Spano quickly went from considering some of New Orleans’ best crawfish hotspots to contemplating his own delectable venison recipes last Friday morning when a big 11-pointer suddenly appeared before him on a 120-acre lease near Quitman, Miss.
“It was like somebody just threw him out there,” said Spano, 45, of Pearl River, La. “I started looking through the Internet on my phone, and when I looked up, he was standing in front of me at 75 yards. The wind was blowing so hard I didn’t hear him walk up.
“I was actually reading an article on Facebook about the 10 best spots to eat crawfish in New Orleans in the most unlikely places.”
The big buck was in an unlikely place as well, considering Spano had thousands of pictures of him over a two year span on the Triple J Hunting Club - but had never seen the deer in person, despite lots of hard hunting.
“He was a 10 o’clock to 3 o’clock buck in the middle of the night,” Spano said. “He was staying in this one confined area I was hunting, that’s why I had him on camera for the last two years.”
Deer season ended last Saturday, Jan. 31 in Clarke County, so Spano wasn’t optimistic about his chances of taking the big buck this year when he got up in his Summit climber overlooking an oak flat early Friday morning around 6 a.m.
“I’m not going to lie, I was going through the motions. I wasn’t expecting him to show up,” he said. “The wind was blowing 20 mph and I actually dozed off in my climber.
“When I woke up, I texted my brother-in-law to see if they had seen anything, and he told me he was getting down at 10 o’clock. I told him I was going to stay in my stand until 11.”
At about 10 a.m., Spano glanced up from reading the crawfish article and the deer was in a clearing feeding just 75 yards away.
“I watched him for a second and when he lifted his head back up he turned toward me and that’s when I noticed it was the big deer,” he said. “Then he turned in the opposite direction and looked away, and that’s when I lifted my gun and shot him behind his ribs and drove the bullet through his front shoulder.”
His 7400 Weathermaster .270 found the mark.
“He jumped up about 5 feet straight in the air and kicked his back legs, then ran about 40 yards in the woods and I heard him crash,” he said.
It didn’t take long for Spano to get down from his climber, find blood and locate the big deer belly up.
“I’ve been hunting him for two years and probably won’t kill another one like that ever, that’s how big he is,” he said. “He was just as big in person as he was on camera. I couldn’t ask for a better buck.
“He’s the buck of a lifetime, for sure.”
The big 11-point, which bottomed out the camp scale at 200 pounds, had a 20-inch inside spread, with almost 4 inches of mass at the bases. The deer was estimated to be 6 1/2 years old, and green scored 159 inches Boone & Crockett.
“I’ll have him here at the house for the rest of my life to look at. He’s got his own wall,” Spano said with a grin. “I’ve got two on the wall already, but they’re nothing compared to him. He’s the biggest deer of my life.”
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Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.