Trent McCaa admits readily that he wasn’t expecting much when he climbed into his box blind on the afternoon of Jan. 28.
He hadn’t taken a deer all season; one buck he’d targeted early on had been taken out by another hunter. Maybe, he thought, he would take a doe if the opportunity presented itself.
Well, it did, but it wasn’t a doe. It was a 163-inch, main-frame 11-point buck, one McCaa had no idea even existed.
“He was a total surprise to me,” said McCaa, a 39-year-old rural-land real estate salesman from Port Gibson. “I had no idea this deer was there.
“We have 2,000 acres, and we’re pretty heavily into management, running (trail) cameras year-round, and we didn’t have him on cameras, and none of the other guys in our camp had seen him.
“So with deer season winding down — I hadn’t hunted or checked my cameras for a week or week-and-a-half — and I decided to go a couple more times. He just showed up. It was a shock.”
McCaa climbed into his box blind at about 3:45 p.m. to watch two food plots he had planted in wheat and oats, one to the west and one to the east of his stand.
“I was just going through the motions,” he said. “I thought about shooting a doe; I hadn’t shot anything all year.”
A stare down
The does stared filtering in about 4:45, followed by one buck that McCaa watched chase a doe around the field for a good 20 minutes.
“About 5:15, some does started coming in on the east side, maybe 13 does. About 5:35, I looked to my left, and another deer was on the west side of the plot. His body was so small, I figured it was just another doe, but I grabbed my binoculars and looked, and it was a big buck.
“In this stand, a Ranch King blind, I don’t open the windows until something comes out, and this deer was just staring at the stand, for at least 3 minutes. I didn’t move. I told myself, ‘I don’t think my heart can take this.’
“Earlier in the year, I was hunting another buck from this stand, and I thought it might be that one, but then I remember, ‘Oh no, that deer’s already been killed.’”
McCaa won the stare down.
“I put my binoculars down; I haven’t even raised my window yet, and he’s looking dead at it,” he said. “I thought, ‘He’s gonna do something, one way or the other,’ but he finally put his head down to feed and took a few steps into the plot.
“I figured it was now or never. I eased the window up, got my gun ready, but as soon as I put it on him, he started walking. I kept adjusting and adjusting, and he walked over to that buck that was out earlier and stopped.
“I shot him, and he dropped right on the spot.”
At 175 yards, a bullet from McCaa’s 7mm-08 — a Christmas present when he was 13 — collapsed the buck, which never moved.
The buck McCaa found a few minutes later was a wide, heavy brute. It had a 6×5 main-frame rack with three scorable sticker points around its bases, a 21 2/8-inch inside spread, main beams that reached 24 and 24 1/2 inches and tines as long as 9 1/8 inches. The buck, whose body McCaa described as “run down,” weighed 175 pounds.
“I’d never seen him, and nobody in my camp had ever seen him,” he said. “After I killed him, I checked my cameras, and I had one photo of him. But the day I posted pictures on Facebook, people came out of the woodwork who had seen him or had pictures. The farthest away was 6 miles. I found a guy who had gone duck hunting around Christmas who had seen him about 4 o’clock in the morning. But to get from where there were pictures of him to where I killed him, he had to cross a 4-lane highway and come a long way.”
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