Natchez native Glen Williams set his sights on a huge main-frame 10-point once he saw the deer on trail cam pics last summer. And that persistence paid off Dec. 24 when he downed the buck that taped out at 155 2/8 inches.
But it was a journey to kill the big-racked Jefferson County buck he and his camp buddies dubbed “Daggers” because of G2s and G3s that stretched about 10 inches.
“The first pictures I got of him was in August,” Williams said.
He also captured a video of the big buck when it was in velvet. That video can be watched above.
“I was getting pretty consistent pictures of him, and then about a week before bow season started, he just vanished,” Williams explained.
But that didn’t bother the die-hard hunter too much: The photos provided clues to the buck’s home range, so Williams focused his early season efforts on 200 to 300 acres of the property.
Bow season passed without another sighting, but trail cams captured photos of the deer again just before gun season opened.
“He was kind of in a different place,” said Williams, who moved six of his cameras to the area, and he redoubled his efforts.
“I was hunting every day I could,” Williams said. “I was seeing a lot of deer, some bucks, but I didn’t care what else was on the place.”
Just before Christmas, he moved a camera to a major game trail just off a small pond near the edge of the property. A large thicket was on the adjacent land, and Williams had a hunch that was where Daggers was holding up.
“I had one picture of him at 4:30 a.m. crossing the path,” Williams said. “As soon as I saw that picture, I knew he was bedding down in that thicket and feeding in the hardwoods on our property.”
There was a single-man ladder bow stand overlooking the pond, and he could look down the game trail from the stand.
On Dec. 23, four days after the picture of Daggers crossing the path was taken, Williams climbed into the stand with the plans of hunting there the entire weekend.
“About 7:30 a.m., a 5-point stepped out,” he said.
Right behind the young buck was Williams’ target.
“As soon as I saw him, I knew it was him,” the hunter said. “He was right behind that 5-point. They were heading for that trail.”
The little deer walked to the trail, offering a great shot. But Daggers didn't cooperating.
“I was thinking Daggers would do the same thing, but he didn’t,” Williams said. “He skirted the edge of that trail.”
The only available shot was through holes in the thicket as the big buck trotted away, but Williams wasn’t willing to risk wounding the animal or ruining any future crack at the deer.
He sat until 12:45 p.m. and returned for the afternoon hunt in hopes the buck would return.
“I ended up seeing a nice 10-point, but I passed it up thinking I’d see (Daggers),” Williams said.
The next morning — Christmas Eve — Williams decided to shift positions a bit. He moved 60 to 75 yards from the bow stand, sitting on an Indian mound overlooking a 400-yard-long shooting lane that was a mere 10 yards wide.
“I got in there way before daylight,” Williams said. “At 7 a.m., a doe stepped out on the lane at 325 yards. She had her tail up — not all the way up, but about halfway.”
Williams figured the deer was in estrus, so he pulled up his rifle in case Daggers trailed the hot doe across the narrow opening.
His hunch was correct, but the narrowness of the shooting lane came back to haunt the hunter.
“As I’m getting my gun up, he was stepping out,” Williams said. “When I got my gun on him, he was stepping into the woods on the opposite side.
“The lane is only 10 yards wide, so if you'll miss your opportunity if you don’t have your gun up and ready.”
Knowing the buck would eventually walk back to his bedding area, Williams decided to remain ready.
“I told myself, ‘He’s going into our place, he’s bedding in that thick — he’s going to cross again,’” the hunter explained. “I literally sat with the gun up against my face for the next three hours.”
During that long wait, he passed on three bucks.
And then, just after 10 a.m. a doe popped into his scope view a bit more than 200 yards away, heading back toward the thicket.
“She stepped out and had her tail about halfway up,” Williams said. “(Daggers) steps out, looking the other direction. As soon as I had (the crosshairs) on him, I squeezed the trigger.”
The buck’s reaction wasn’t very promising.
“He was quartering away from me,” Williams said. “I thought I missed him when I shot. His tail went up — not all the way, but it didn’t curl down — and he didn’t act like he was hit at all.
“I texted my dad that I had just missed him.”
His father, who also was hunting on the property, encouraged Williams. So an hour later, the discouraged hunter eased down the lane to look for blood.
He didn’t find any promising signs.
“For the next three hours, I combed the entire area,” Williams said. “I didn’t find any blood, no hair, nothing.”
He went back to the camp, mad at the world and convinced he had shanked the shot. In fact, he hunted the same place that afternoon before heading home because he had to work Christmas day.
“I had to drive on back with that empty feeling that I’d missed a deer of a lifetime, the buck I was after,” Williams said. “I was just sick. I went to work telling everyone I missed it.”
Williams’ father hunted the area the next two days without seeing Daggers.
On the elder Williams’ third morning in the area, two buzzards flew over his stand. That made him wonder what the carrion were after.
“He walked around to a little food plot, and it didn’t take him two minutes once he went off the edge of the plot,” Glen Williams said. “(Daggers) was 50 yards from where I stopped looking.”
The animal hadn’t even been picked at by buzzards or eaten by coyotes, a fact Williams credits to the extremely cold weather.
“He looked just like I had just killed him,” he said. “He was frozen.”
Why the deer didn’t leave a blood trail is still a mystery.
“Remember he was quartering away from me? I hit him 2 1/2 to 3 inches back — not enough to get in the gut,” Williams explained. “The exit wound was right in the (opposing) shoulder.
“I don’t know why he didn’t bleed.”
Daggers was everything he hoped for. The 17-inch-wide rack held G2s and G3s that measured 9 1/2 and 10 inches long, and the main beams stretched the tape to 22 3/4 and 23 1/2 inches.
"He's a main-frame 10-point with three or four kickers," Williams said.
The bases measured 6 1/2 and 7 inches in circumference.
“He’s got real good mass,” Williams said of the 235-pound deer. “He was much a man.”
Click here to read other big-buck stories from this season.