The stillness in the western Mississippi woods was broken abruptly by high-fiving and celebrating during the late morning hours of Sept. 16 by a successful hunter.
Melvin Brown, Jr. of Patterson, La., and his wife were the ones who caused the commotion after they tracked and located a wounded deer approximately 200 yards from where he put an arrow in it around 7:30 a.m. And not just any deer. One worthy of a commotion.
“I couldn’t believe it, seeing a deer of that caliber. I’ve never killed a deer that big,” Brown Jr. said about the 215-pound, 9-point buck with velvet antlers initially scored at 140 3/8 inches.
Brown shared the special moments with his wife, Felicia Harris Brown, an equally ardent bowhunter who helped track the deer starting three hours after he shot it.
“Me and my wife high-fived and celebrated. We hugged each other. It was a good experience,” Brown said about his first deer of the 2022-23 season and his personal best buck.
The 42-year-old subsea robotics supervisor for Oceaneering International Inc., where he has worked nine years, took the deer to a Mississippi taxidermist who tested it for Chronic Waste Disease. He was then picking up the deer to bring it home to a local taxidermist in Patterson, La. The taxidermist will officially score it for him and mount it.
Brown said he has hunted deer, rabbits and squirrels since he was five or six with his father, Melvin Brown Sr., and an uncle, Eddie “Jaja” Brown Sr. He picked up bowhunting and his wife hunts deer with a crossbow, he said.
He was hunting from a deer stand on a lease near Fayette, Mississippi. He and others have been leasing the property since 1990, when he was in high school, he said.
Brown was bowhunting with a Mathews Vertix compound bow and Carbon Express Maxima Red arrows. The deer stand he was in was 30 feet off the ground.
“I went in the woods around 6 o’clock,” he said. “Around 7:12, I started seeing does. I was filming the does with my phone. That’s when I noticed the big buck letting does go first to make sure everything was OK.
“Then he came behind them, came within 10 yards. I had drew back and held for what felt like an eternity, but it was 30 to 45 seconds. I was just waiting for a perfect shot. He was quartered to me. I shot him right behind the left shoulder.”
The key to Brown’s success
As expected, the deer ran.
“So I got down. I didn’t really see too much blood. So I backed down, waiting three hours. Me and my wife went track the blood. He ran about 200 yards,” Brown said. “When I got to him, he was still alive. He was wounded bad, couldn’t stand up. I was able to put another arrow in him.”
Brown said he saw the deer on trail cam last season. It was a 7-pointer then. He believes setting his deer stand higher than others is a key to his success.
“Everybody says, ‘Why do you climb so high?’ I always climb high so the deer doesn’t spook and doesn’t see me,” he said, reasoning he doesn’t want deer to be startled by something they don’t usually see.
The big deer was big news. After it was posted in Mississippi Whitetails, Brown received more than 1,000 congratulations.
It’s a big year for the all-around outdoorsman who also fishes for catfish, redfish and, yes, yellowfin tuna. He recently landed a 105-pound yellowfin tuna off the drillship where he works (it has a charter boat permit) offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
The big fish smashed a topwater popping bait.
“When you talk about explode, coming out of the water, ah, man, that’s a nice feeling there,” he said about his tuna, also a personal best.
However, for now the outdoorsman will be happy just to bask in his most recent deer hunting accomplishment. And who wouldn’t.