Creek Baham of Loranger, La., and his family and friends were hunting in Winston County over Christmas week. They were all hoping to score with a buck, or at the very least harvest a doe for meat. Baham, a student at the University of Louisiana Monroe, was itching to get into the woods and harvest a buck, but things weren’t going well for the group, as nobody had harvested a deer up to that point.
“We had not seen a deer yet,” Baham said. “I went to a stand early that morning and did a little calling with my grunt call but really had not seen or heard a response.”
Baham wasn’t giving up, so he kept at it. Things made a drastic change on Dec. 21, 2021.
“I was looking out into the open bottomland hardwoods and saw two deer scatter,” Baham said. “I lost sight of them and then I saw a doe dart into the bottom. Then I saw another big old doe on the ridge to my left and she got my attention as she was moving. I was looking at the does and they were eating, and I looked back down the ridge and there was horns coming down the side of the hill. I lost him for a second and then saw him walking and watching the does.”
The moment of truth
The big buck was trailing a doe 15-20 yards out in front of him and he stopped a minute to watch.
“I had to wait for them to clear the trees as the doe moved to the right of me,” Baham said. “I picked out a tree and once he crossed by that tree I was going to shoot at about 40 yards. Just before he got to the tree, he stopped with his back end covered by the tree.
“I got really anxious and pulled the trigger. He jump-kicked and tore out running away from me, so I grunted loud twice, and he stopped. I bolted another bullet and shot again. The buck took off and ran over the ridge and out of sight. The does ran up onto the ridge and I waited for them to leave and get out of sight before checking him out. The time of the shot was 9:00 a.m.”
Baham waited on his father, Ricky Baham, and they went down the hill and found blood.
“When I got there, I found some bone,” Ricky Baham said. “I told him that I had bad news and thought he’d shot him in one of his legs because I found some bone. I really hated to tell him that I thought he made a high shot and hit the deer in the leg bone.”
“We trailed the deer another 200 yards and saw a lot more blood,” Creek Baham said. “We thought that the deer had laid down because we found a lot more blood in one spot, but he kept on moving.”
Calling in some help
The Bahams thought that this may have been a good time to call Zack Crowley of Maben. Crowley and his dog have found many deer for hunters when there was little or no blood trail.
“We waited a few hours and Crowley got there about 12:30,” Baham said. “His dog picked up the trail and led us right to the deer and we found him dead in a creek about a mile from the shot sight. If I hadn’t called them, I would never have gotten the deer, there’s no doubt in my mind. I just really want to thank Zack and his dog.
“I told my dad that I’d never see another deer like this one after we thought he’d gotten away,” Baham said. “You just can’t describe going from such a high of getting a shot on a trophy buck to such a low feeling after you’ve missed or wounded the deer and watched him run off.”
As it turned out the first shot did hit the deer’s leg and the second actually pierced the buck’s liver, which ultimately caused his demise.
“I didn’t think he looked that big until we found him laying there in the creek,” Baham said.
The 180-pound buck green scored in the 150’s and had tines that were 9 to 10 inches long. It had a 21-inch wide spread and 11 points with a kicker on one brow tine. Its main beams were over 23 inches long.
Baham shot the trophy buck with a .308 Savage axis rifle. After finding the deer, Baham was on cloud nine and he’s still in shock today. To harvest such a buck on public land and then to experience such an ordeal to retrieve him is amazing and makes the victory that much sweeter.