posted on April 30, 2012 06:41
By Mike Handley
Josh Alford of Brandon, Miss., might be only 15 years old, but he learned something last season that some wildlife managers two or three times his age often forget, which is to never say never.
Conventional wisdom dictates that when a property's doe-to-buck ratio is heavily laden with females, mature males will not reach their potential for antler development and body weights. Thus, many game biologists recommend a liberal doe harvest with the goal of creating a 3-to-1 or even a 1-to-1 ratio.
The doe-to-buck ratio in Yazoo County, Miss., where Josh was hunting last December, was nearly 17-to-1. Or at least that's what the Brandon High School football player saw from his ladder stand facing a 200-yard-long food plot: 33 does and two bucks.
By the time he left, there was one less of each.
"Seeing that many deer in one day is NOT ordinary," he added. "I usually see only seven or eight, at most. Deer were running everywhere."
Josh had already shot a big doe when this rut-worn, 200-pound stud came onto the food plot at 5:06 p.m. The teenager wasted no time in taking the 120-yard, quartering-away shot with his 7mm-08.
"I didn't really look at the rack before I squeezed the trigger," he said. "I had no idea the antlers were that big. I've never been so happy in my life!"
Josh's buck took first place in both the youth and Mississippi divisions of the big buck contest held by Simmons' Sporting Goods in Bastrop, La. By the BTR's yardstick, the 16-pointer's true gross is 197 1/8 inches, and it falls in the semi-irregular category.
The rest of the story will appear in Rack magazine next fall.