Eleven-year-old Dalton Bishop harvested his first rack buck last year, but he’d set his sights on a much bigger deer when grandfather Jerry Bishop captured an image of a fine buck with a game camera in Neshoba County a couple years ago.

When the hunters found the right side of the buck’s rack in September 2014, it really set young Bishop on fire but he went the whole season without spotting him the big deer. 

The buck made one game camera appearance after the close of the 2014-15 season, and Dalton knew he was in the game. And then the buck went into hiding again, not to be seen through the spring, summer and fall. 

Until Nov. 23, when the young hunter put the 170-class buck on the ground.

Dalton Bishop wasn’t even thinking about the huge deer when he joined his grandfather for the hunt — he was just hoping to take a legal buck. 

“I’d been watching a couple of spikes and 4-points from the stand but nothing bigger,” Jerry Bishop said. “We were just trying to get (Dalton) a shot at one of the bucks I’d been watching. I got a new Moultrie camera just before the season, but we never spotted (the monster buck) again.”

The pair arrived at the stand overlooking a green field around 3:30 p.m. but didn’t see much action for a while.

“We saw a couple spikes come in and feed around, but then they left out,” Dalton said. “Then eight does came in all at once, and they were eating grass.”

Things started to heat up as a couple of 4-points came out and started butting heads and sparring. An excited Dalton Bishop was preparing to harvest one of those young bucks when things took an unexpected turn.

“I got my rifle up and snapped off the safety, and was about to shoot when Grandad said, ‘Hold up’” the young Bishop said.

The older hunter told Dalton what he wanted to hear.

“Something bigger just came into the field,” Jerry Bishop said.

It was a big buck, and with the dying rays of sunlight things got serious really quickly because it was difficult to get a clear shot with 13 deer in the field. 

“Dalton was almost hyperventilating because there were so many deer in the patch, and they were moving around, so he had to keep waiting until he had a clear shot,” Jerry Bishop said. 

The wait was amping up the young hunter. 

“Dad said don’t wait on a buck — shoot him as soon as you can, so I was getting nervous and a bit worried that I wouldn’t get a shot,” Dalton said. “When he finally got in the clear he was only 35 steps from us, so I put the crosshairs on him and shot.”

The elder Bishop told Dalton he was unsure if the 5:15 p.m. shot connected, but the youngster was confident.

“I saw him jump when I shot him,” Dalton said. “I know I hit him.”

In the dying daylight, the pair quickly climbed out of the stand and headed to the edge of the patch.

And there lay the biggest buck the young hunter had ever seen. 

“We didn’t know if it was the same one we’d seen at first, but when we got a closer look it was evident that this was the buck that had shed the antler,” Jerry Bishop said. “He was a huge deer, and had lots of fat on him from the acorns and grass and feed.” 

The trophy buck sported a main frame of 12 points, which was supplemented by four more scoreable points. Joey Murphey of Joey’s Taxidermy in Chunky scored the huge rack at 171 3/8 inches Boone and Crockett. 

That was enough to put him the lead the Big Buck Bounty’s youth division in Meridian.   

Click here to read about other big bucks killed this season.

And don’t forget about the Mississippi Sportsman Big Buck Photo Contest, which is free and offers great monthly Sportsman Gear prizes.