The wait was worth it for Hart

Andrew Hart harvested this 10-point buck near Belzoni on Dec. 2 with his .308 Steyr Rifle and Trijicon Scope.
Andrew Hart harvested this 10-point buck near Belzoni on Dec. 2 with his .308 Steyr Rifle and Trijicon Scope.

Andrew Hart of Madison and his hunting friends located a trophy buck in December 2019 near Belzoni. He had an opportunity to shoot the buck late on Dec. 28, but he’d just returned from a Texas hunting trip on which he had harvested several deer. As a result, he was tired and passed on a buck that he’d normally have shot. Hart estimated that the buck would score 150. Some of his hunting partners thought he was either pulling their leg or crazy for passing on the buck.

Unfortunately, the Yazoo River flooded and stayed high the remainder of the season, and the season was closed early in the area as a result.

“After the water went back down, we went back in and got the (trail) camera, and there were several pictures of the buck coming by with water up to his chest,” Hart said. “We followed him on camera last summer and fall. He was running with another 150-inch buck during the early fall, and my son Cory spotted the smaller buck on opening day of the season. After he watched the smaller buck about 20 minutes Cory shot him, thinking the hit-list buck wasn’t going to show. That buck scored 154 inches and was a great bow buck.

Cory Hart killed this 154-inch buck the first day of bow season.
Cory Hart killed this 154-inch buck the first day of bow season.

“We planted about 30 acres of corn, 20 acres of beans and left for them the deer; they were really working on it. So it was no surprise when Cory killed the 154-inch buck on opening day of bow season.”

Buck remains elusive

Hart estimated that the bigger buck was in the 170-inch range last fall, and he and all his friends were hunting hard for a glimpse of him; they weren’t disappointed. The buck was working one core area, and several hunters saw him pass through one of the lanes near a stand, but they could never get a good shot — he was moving too fast.

One afternoon, a hunter had his daughter in the stand, and she saw the buck come through the lane too fast for her to get a shot, but they were confident somebody was going to get a crack at him because he was working through there too frequently.

“Cory got in the stand the next day and hunted from 5:30 until 9 a.m., and the deer crossed a lane and went into a thicket between the lanes but never came out the other side,” Hart said. “At 1:30, another hunter came back and got in that stand, and Cory got down and went to another stand.”

Hart doesn’t pass up second chance

When Hart arrived that afternoon, Dec. 2, he went to the north side of the property to give the others some space.

“I got on my stand and had some does come out and feed in the field,” Hart said. “About 4:30, a big deer came into the lane about 120 yards to my left and started walking towards the other deer, coming in my direction, and I looked at him and then put the binoculars down and shouldered my gun and put the crosshairs right behind his shoulder and squeezed the trigger just as he turned to go into the woods.”

“Pow-whap!” The buck lurched at the shot from Hart’s .308 Steyr rifle and jumped out of the lane. Hart left the deer alone and went back to camp for a little while, and then came back with the others to look for it.

“The buck only went about 40 yards after I shot him, but I just wanted to be sure that he was mortally wounded before going in after him,” Hart said.

The huge buck had 10 scoreable points, had an 18 1/4-inch inside spread and weighed 225 pounds. The buck was green-scored at 172 7/8 inches by Mary Solomon at Ellis Solomon Taxidermy in Brandon.

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Michael O. Giles
About Michael O. Giles 288 Articles
Mike Giles of Meridian has been hunting and fishing Mississippi since 1965. He is an award-winning wildlife photographer, writer, seminar speaker and guide.

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