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Michael Kleinschmidt
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Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog


Phil Major

By Mike Handley

One reason even veteran deer hunters fail to get more than one shot at a fleeing deer is because they're shocked when the animal doesn't falter or collapse after the first boom. All too often, those who manage a follow-up shot are too rattled to make it count.

That might've been the case in Pointe Coupee Parish, La., last December, when Phil Major fired twice at what he calls the local "celebrity buck." The deer, fixated on a doe, didn't react in the least to Phil's first shot, and a quick second round flew wide.

Walking almost 100 yards to look for blood you don't expect to find is a small price to pay for the joy of being wrong!

The 38-year-old supervisor for an industrial construction company was sharing a shooting house with his 6-year-old son, Parker, on the morning of Dec. 24.

About a quarter past 8:00, he spotted a doe to the side of the "condo" that he decided would look better in his freezer. But because of the awkward angle, he hesitated just long enough to see the buck closing in on her.

There was no time for thought. And if he hadn't already had his rifle resting on the window ledge, there would've been no time to shoot at the running animal. All he had to do was switch targets and squeeze the trigger.

Twice, in fact, the second time out of pure desperation.

After waiting for about 20 minutes, Phil told little Parker to stay there and guard the stand, while he walked out to see if there was any blood. There was, but only a couple of drops.

When he walked over to the edge of the woods, he saw another spot. And then he noticed a splash of it on a sapling. Rather than go any farther, he went back to collect Parker, so the boy could be by his side as they followed the trail.

"We found it together," Phil beamed. "I'd made the perfect shot, though you couldn't tell it by the buck's reaction.

"I'll never forget that day," he added, not really referring to the hunt or the buck. "Parker was running around, fist-pumping and yelling ‘BOOYAH.' It was a sight to behold."

Phil's buck, aged at 3 1/2 years old, tipped the scales at 230 pounds. Body-wise, it was barely average for that neck of the woods.

The antlers, however, are world-class – there or in any other neck of the woods. Their BTR composite score is 217 2/8 inches, and the story will appear this fall in Rack magazine.

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