“I knew he’d made it through,” Burdine said.
But from the end of the season until about two weeks ago, Burdine never had any evidence that the buck was still in his neck of the woods – his hunting land straddles the border between Madison and Hinds counties – much less still alive.
Then, he got one trail-cam photo of the buck, around 7 a.m., moving through a food plot Burdine has planted on the land.
On Dec. 16, Burdine finished the job he poured so much of himself into the year before; he dropped the buck – an impressive 8-point, 152-inch, 195-pound monster – standing in the food plot.
But it could have been his 11-year-old son Michael’s buck.
“It was a Friday afternoon, and my son wanted to go hunting,” said Burdine, a 36-year-old project manager for a construction company. “He’s 11 and he’s just getting started hunting (in a stand) by himself. That day, I wanted him to hunt the stand I wound up sitting in, but he wanted to sit in another stand because it was more comfortable. So I helped him in and went to my stand. I got there about 3:30, a little late.”
Burdine recognizes the buck
Between 30 and 45 minutes later, Burdine’s foot plot – a six-way seed mix that has gotten plenty of attention from the local whitetail herd – got a visit from a big doe, which worked her way across the greenery and left the area. A few minutes later, he said, his 2021 target showed up.
“He came in; he wasn’t far behind her. I don’t know if he was chasing, but he was trailing her,” Burdine said. “He was in the food plot, coming from the same direction he’d come from in the trail-cam photo. I recognized him immediately; I knew it was him when he stepped out.”
Burdine normally shoots a 7MM Magnum, but that day, he’d brought along a . .25-06.
The change in rifles and calibers mattered not in the least. At 150 yards, Burdine put the crosshairs on the buck and squeezed the trigger. It immediately hunched up, mule-kicked and stumbled about 20 yards before crashing to the ground, heart-shot.
Burdine got down, walked to where the buck lay and admitted doing a little “dancing in the food plot.” Then, he went to his son’s stand and picked him up.
“My son told me he was asleep when I shot,” Burdine said.
A glance at the buck certainly woke him up. Atop his 195-pound frame, the buck carried a tremendous 8-point rack scoring 152. The longest tine on the left beam measured 12 inches; three other tines were 10 inches or better. Burdine said the buck was 19¾ inches inside, with main beams measuring 25½ and 26 inches.