Miles Joyner of Collinsville discovered that a really good Lauderdale County buck was using an area he was hunting, and after putting out game cameras in late October, Joyner located a stand on the edge of a hardwood-bottom swamp and pine thicket. His stand overlooked a green strip 120 yards long and 20 yards wide that served as a transition area between the hardwoods and pines.
At the time of discovery the buck went to the top of Joyner’s hit list and eventually engaged in a game of chess, matching moves with the avid hunter. In late January, the buck became an obsession to Joyner.
“I hunted the buck 7 days in a row and kept up with his movement with my camera,” Joyner said. “Earlier in the season, he was coming to two different fields during daylight hours, so I’d hunt stand No. 5 one day, and the buck would be in No. 6. Then I’d go to No. 6 the next day, and he’d show up at No. 5.”
It seemed like the buck had a sixth sense and was one step ahead; each time Joyner made a move, the buck countered by moving to another spot.
“One day I got a picture of the buck through my cell phone at mid-day,” said Kent Joyner, Mike Joyner’s father. “I thought the next picture was going to be a kill photo, because Miles was hunting that stand. I kept getting pictures of the buck, so I texted Miles and found out that he’d left to get lunch and take a break.”
Joyner raced back to the area, and a doe was still in the field, but the buck had vacated the premises.
It seemed that the harder he hunted, the smarter the buck got.
“I came close three days in a row but just missed seeing him each time,” Joyner said. “I went hunting one day and got down at 11 o’clock, and the buck showed up at 11:20. The next day, I hunted till noon, and he came in at 12:20. On the third day, I hunted to 11 and went to the store to get lunch, and he came into the field before I even got to the store!”
With the regular season dwindling down, Joyner was getting desperate, so he did the only thing any die-hard hunter would do: he kept going back, day after day, figuring persistence would be the key to intercepting the buck, which finally happened on Jan. 21.
“I’d hunted several days in a row, and one particular morning the deer were moving good,” Joyner said. “I didn’t get to the stand until about 8 a.m., and a nice 8-point and spike came out, but I passed on the 8-point because I knew the bigger buck was still working the area.”
Then, does started coming through the field, and one particular doe came in and seemed confused.
“About 30 minutes after one doe came in, another came in and meandered around like she was lost and didn’t know where to go,” Joyner said. “I looked up where she had come into the field and saw another deer coming in.”
The moment of truth
Joyner’s adrenalin was really flowing when he saw antlers, and then he really got excited as he recognized the buck that he’d seen only in photos.
“I let him take about 3 steps into the field,” Joyner said. “He didn’t even look my way and turned quartering away from me.”
“Tic-Boom” roared Joyner’s custom-made .308. Before the sound of the shot had even died, the buck dropped in his tracks, never even twitching.
The great buck weighed 198 pounds and carried a main-frame 10-point rack with one sticker point. With an 18-inch inside spread, the buck rough-scored at 150 inches.
JOIN THE CLUB, get unlimited access for $2.99/month
Become the most informed Sportsman you know, with a membership to the Mississippi Sportsman Magazine and MS-Sportsman.com.