Rives rings in New Year with another pending state-record archery buck

Natchez's Will Rives set the state record for typcial bow buck in 2010, and he could have broken that record on Jan. 2 when he arrowed this 180-class buck.

Jefferson County deer estimated to score 187 inches Pope & Young could top Magnolia Records.

Will Rives hadn’t been seeing many deer while bow hunting on the Jefferson County piece of property. In fact, it’d been a rotten year.

“I haven’t hardly seen any deer,” the die-hard Natchez hunter said. “I had been hunting hard for four days, and I saw two yearlings.”

So he made a change of plans, which didn’t produce numbers of deer but did put a 180-class 12-point in front of him on Jan. 2. And Rives didn’t miss.

That deer could break the state record for typical bucks killed with archery equipment — the record Rives now holds with a 172 4/8-inch buck he arrowed in December 2010.

Rives’ latest kill came after the hunter did something he never does in the late season — hunt a food source.

““I just started looking around, and I found an acorn tree with tracks under it,” he said. “I figured if does are coming to it, the bucks will be there, too.”

Of course, it helped that he had a suspicion there was a big buck in the area.

“There was one big track under the tree,” Rives said.

So he set up his stand, and jacked up the tree about 2 p.m. on Jan. 2.

He heard a deer padding through some nearby water about 3:30, and quickly located a doe slipping through the woods about 50 yards out.

“She didn’t come to the tree, though,” Rives said. “She flanked it in a thicket.”

That seemed strange to the concealed hunter, but he soon saw the deer was acting nervously.

His heart rate crept up a bit.

“I said, ‘There’s a buck around here somewhere,’” Rives said. “I got my bow ready.

The doe disappeared, but Rives — a firm believer in calling — eased out his Primos Can and let out one bleat.

“I mean, within a minute I saw him walking out of the thicket looking under that acorn tree,” he said.

The deer was within range at no more than 30 yards, but was obscured by the thickets around which Rives loves to hunt.

But he could see enough to know the buck was a stud.

“When I saw him, I said, ‘180,’” Rives said. “In my mind, I knew he was a 180-inch deer.”

The deer wasn’t hurrying. In fact, it was downright cautious. But when it finally stepped behind a tree at 25 yards out, Rives took the opportunity to draw his PSE Dream Season bow.

He instantly worried he had made some mistake.

“He stopped behind that tree, and I said, ‘This isn’t good,’” Rives said.

The deer stood there for what seemed like an eternity, leaving the hunter to wonder how on Earth he had been spotted. The buck finally began moving again, but excruciatingly slowly.

“I glanced to my right, and I saw the doe yards away,” Rives said. “I couldn’t let down.”

The buck, meantime, was taking its sweet time.

“He’d take a step, and smell the ground,” Rives said. “He’d take another step and smell the ground.”

By this time, Rives was worried he would’t get the shot.

“It seemed like an eternity, but was probably only two to three minutes,” he said.

Finally the deer cleared the tree, and Rives saw his opportunity.

“I had to squat down in my stand to shoot through a little hole,” he said.

The deer at 23 yards didn’t have a chance when the 100-grain Spitfire MaXX broadhead left Rives’ bow.

When he stood over the massive deer, Rives was left a bit dazed.

“I called my wife and told her, ‘You won’t believe it: I killed another one like the one I killed last year. Something bad is about to happen,’” Rives laughed. “To be lucky enough to kill two of them, I don’t believe it.

“The odds of that is about the odds of winning the Power Ball.”

The buck carried a rack featuring five points off the left main beam, with six on the right. A kicker off left brow tine made it a 12-point.

The bases measured 6 to 6 1/2 inches around, and carried the mass very well.

“It’s got plenty of mass,” Rives said.

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About Andy Crawford 279 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.

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