Matt Langford of Petal might be the happiest deer hunter in Mississippi these days — if he can ever get his wife, Chelle, to speak to him again.
Langford dropped a 157-inch Holmes County buck on Nov. 22, and he had another, even bigger buck, on trail-cam photos on the tract of land a duck-hunting buddy had allowed him to hunt.
That second buck was pencilled in on Chelle Langford’s hunting menu.
“When I killed that first big one, I was real proud of it, and with my wife still looking for her first buck, we put her on it. She hunted it two or three times,” Matt Langford said.
When he slipped back onto the property for an afternoon deer hunt on Dec. 5, the bigger buck was the last thing on his mind.
“I just went that Saturday, never thinking I’d see him,” he said.
But when a 176-inch buck walks within five yards of your tree stand and eventually gives you a 20-yard broadside shot, what can you do?
You shoot and hope that asking for forgiveness is as easy as asking for permission.
“She was a little displeased,” Matt Langford joked. “One thing she said was, ‘Fourteen years of marriage down the drain.’”
Langford’s huge buck, which he had nicknamed “Tall Boy” after getting a few trail-camera photos of it, was a true Mississippi monster. Only 15 3/4 inches wide, the buck carried a 5×5 main-frame rack with one split brow tine and another sticker point. It had four tines longer than 10 inches and bases that were 6 1/8 and 6 1/4 inches in circumference. It scored 176 1/2 inches gross typical, and Langford expects it to net in the low- to mid-160s.
And his wife?
“I’m going to be her guide the rest of the season,” he said. “There are still a couple of good bucks on the property.”
Langford was hunting from a Summit climbing stand in a little patch of hardwoods close to some agricultural fields about a hundred yards from a “duck hole” surrounded by oak trees.
“They were just traveling through there,” he said. “They were headed for those agricultural fields, just coming through, eating a few acorns. They weren’t staying long in my area.”
But one of them stayed plenty long on Dec. 5. Langford had gotten away from his Little Caesar’s pizza franchise early that afternoon and was in his tree stand by 3 p.m. He had four or five does slip through his area before he heard a deer behind him at 5:10.
“When I heard it, I didn’t think anything about it being him, but when I turned around to my right, he was pretty much straight under me, walking away at 4 o’clock (direction),” Langford said.
Langford said the huge buck, which he watched for 15 or 20 seconds, had probably gotten out of sight, about 75 yards behind him, when he started grunting and turned it around.
“The first time I saw him, I was shaking,” he said. “I’ve had some big bucks before where everything happened so fast I didn’t have a chance to start shaking, but this one really got me pumped up. When he got up under me, I knew he was the one we had on camera that I’d called ‘Tall Boy.’
“I’ve used a grunt call before, with maybe 10% success, so when I couldn’t see him anymore, I hit my (Primos) grunt call four or five times. When I saw him, he was walking right to me.
“I was surprised when he came back in. When I grunted, I’d hoped for the best, but I had no guarantee. Then, he walked up 20 yards away, broadside.”
Langford leveled his Browning A-Bolt at the buck and sent a .270 slug right behind the shoulder, through both lungs. The buck bolted away and got just out of Langford’s vision before he heard it crash to the ground.
“I wondered why he didn’t fall when I first shot him, but I heard him fall,” said Langford, who said there was absolutely no “ground shrinkage” between the time he pulled the trigger and climbed down and got to his buck, which got 50 yards from where it was shot before falling.
“I watched him long enough the first time to know how big he was. I watched it all unfold,” he said.
Photo of the Month
Congratulations to Matt for winning Mississippi Sportsman’s Photo of the Month Contest for December 2020! In addition to an online post and inclusion in the Scrapbook of our print magazine, Photo of the Month Contest winners like Matt are also eligible to receive prizes from Mississippi Sportsman! Click here to submit your photo for a chance to win Mississippi Sportsman’s Photo of the Month Contest!
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.