By Brad Thibodaux
-- I am from Baton Rouge, La., and I hunt at Montgomery Farms Hunting Club in Edwards, Ms. In January 2007, while hunting during primitive weapon season, I spotted a nice, mature buck with a 200-pound-plus body and a heavy rack. Our club has an 18-inch minimum inside spread requirement.
After looking at this buck for approximately 30 minutes, it seemed to be at least 18 inches wide. The closer he got, the bigger it looked. When the deer was at approximately 70 yards away, I whistled and the buck looked in my direction. However, the buck was quartering toward me instead of being broadside.
Waiting for the right shot, I put the crosshairs of my scope on its right front shoulder and then squeezed the trigger. I was shooting 325-grain bullet that packs a big wallop. I was confident the buck would not go far.
Once I knew I'd made contact, I called the club owner on my cell phone, and he said to wait for him before I searched for the deer. We looked for two hours that night until the blood trail stopped. The next morning, which was Thursday, we searched for two more hours and finally had to give up.
More than three days later, I was hunting in the same area but in a different stand when I heard dogs barking and growling and water splashing in a creek behind me. I climbed out of the stand and slowly eased along the creek for about 300 yards. Suddenly, two black dogs came running toward me growling and barking.
For a moment, I thought they were going to attack me. I shouted at the dogs, and they ran away. I continued walking in the direction from which they had come, and I saw something in the creek that was white and red in color. I put the scope on it and realized it was the rear end of a deer the dogs had been eating on.
We brought the deer to the skinning shed. It weighed 200 pounds and had a 15 1/4-inch inside spread with 5-inch bases. As I looked at the buck, I had no idea that it was the same buck I had shot Wednesday afternoon. The buck I had shot had at least an 18-inch spread, according to my estimation. The landowner said that he felt it was the buck I shot Wednesday and that I owed a $500 fine.
I said there was no possibility this was the same deer. The only thing that would cause me to admit that it was the same deer was if the point of entry was on the right front shoulder. It was. I paid the fine.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana