Action had slowed considerably on Sylvester Badeaux’s 200-acre lease in Claiborne County — so much so that the Harvey, La. hunter had contemplated skipping the final days of deer season last month.
“Actually, a few weeks ago, things slowed down with the deer movement and I was kind of undecided if I was even going to hunt the last weekend,” Badeaux said. “My buddies that I hunt with were all talking about going and cooking — so I said, ‘I guess I’m going to go.’”
Turns out he made the right call.
Last Friday afternoon, Jan. 27, the 46-year-old hunter busted the buck of a lifetime when an 18-point monster appeared just 40 yards away on his lease near Hermanville.
And Badeaux experienced it all at ground level.
“I went to a section of our property that we haven’t been in a while, and snuck in there and set up a pop-up tent,” he said.
Badeaux was positioned with his back to a creek, overlooking a 5-year-old cutover. He got set up around 2:30, and everything was quiet until the big buck appeared at 5:05.
“I just caught some movement on my right side — the way I walked in was the way he came to me,” he said. “When I looked up, he was coming around a bend in this little logging road.
“He looked up and saw the pop-up, and he threw the brakes on. He was looking at that pop-up and knew something wasn’t right.”
But Badeaux didn’t give the big deer a chance to react — within seconds he scoped it and made the 40-yard shot with his .270.
The buck fell where it stood.
“I threw the tent off my head and went straight to him,” Badeaux said with a chuckle. “I didn’t even open the doors. I just lifted it up and flung it back — I had to get my hands on him.”
Badeaux, who’s hunted for 33 years, said nothing could have prepared him for the experience of holding the big buck’s amazing rack.
“It was unbelievable. All I could do was thank God. There were so many emotions,” he said. “I thanked God and I thanked the deer. It was the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that.”
The 18-pointer was special indeed, featuring a heavy-horned rack with an 18-inch inside spread and 6 ½ bases. The right main beam measured 25 ⅛ inches, while the left stretched the tape to 26 inches.
The buck green-scored a whopping 182 ¼ inches Boone and Crockett, and Badeaux suspects the buck is about 6 ½ years old.
Surprisingly, it tipped the scales at just 150 pounds.
“There wasn’t an ounce of fat on him,” he said.
Unlike lots of hunters, Badeaux said he doesn’t use trail cams, but suspected there were some nice bucks in that area of his lease.
“I quit using cameras because I got tired of chasing ghosts,” he said. “We used to have cameras everywhere, and most of the pictures were at night. I kind of got disgusted, and as a group, we try not to walk the property much. We ease in there, do what we have to do and get out.”
Eventually the big buck will be displayed above his fireplace in Harvey — but Badeaux was quick to point out that it really was a team effort that resulted in the trophy deer going down.
“I really want to thank my hunting buddies: Todd Phillip, Jason Ruiz, Travis Gros and Stephen Phillip,” Badeaux said. “If it wouldn’t be for the blood, sweat and money from all of us, it wouldn’t have been possible for me to do what I did.
“We’ve been hunting together as a group for years, and I owe them. I want to give them their kudos because it wouldn’t have happened without them."
Click here to read other big-buck stories from the 2016-17 season.