Andy Balentine had his sights set on a nice 8-point he’d been seeing regularly on his trail cam at the Amite River Sportsman’s Club property in Liberty.

So when he headed to his lean-to stand that overlooked a strip of hardwoods adjacent to the Amite River last Monday afternoon, he was hoping to either shoot his first doe of the season — or maybe get a crack at the big 8 he’d been watching on camera.

As the hunt unfolded, he never saw a doe and the big 8 never showed. But in the end, he wound up sticking his best deer ever — a 14-point monster that green-scored more than 164 inches.

The action got underway when the huntere heard a deer moving through a thicket he was overlooking.

“I thought it was a doe at first, and I had my bow ready,” Balentine said. “I could tell it was a small-bodied deer; then I saw some little horns on his head, so I just watched it for a little while.”

The spike, which was eating acorns at a cow oak tree, was soon joined by another spike. Balentine watched from 18 feet up as the two deer ate and played.

“All of a sudden I heard like a deep belly grunt, and I had never heard that noise before,” he said. “It was almost like a high-pitched grunt, and I heard something else walking.

“As soon as the buck grunted, the spikes scattered. The first thing I saw was his horns.”

To read about the rest of Balentine's hunt click here.

Click here to read other big-buck stories from the 2016-17 season.

And don’t forget to post photos of your bucks in the Mississippi Sportsman Big Buck Photo Contest, which is free and offers great monthly prize packages.