posted on July 13, 2014 09:11
By Mike Handley
Opening day of bow season in Louisiana, when even a tee-shirt can feel like a parka in the often oppressive heat, might still attract hunters itching to get started. But hopes aren't generally high, even if trail cameras are clicking away, night and day.
Such was the case in 2013, when Charles Falkenheiner woke before dawn. Even though his buddies had generously offered to let him have first crack at an enormous buck they all wanted, Charles thought his first vigil from a stand would be an exercise in futility.
For one thing, he'd convinced himself that accessing the stand before dawn would likely mean spooking the very deer he hoped to see. Plus, the prevailing wind was not going to help matters.
But when he walked out of the house to check the breeze, he was pleasantly surprised. Excited, he headed afield a little earlier than usual.
When he didn't hear any deer running away as he approached his setup overlooking the place where the buck had been photographed several times during daylight hours, he thought maybe – just maybe – it might work.
And it did, just after daybreak.
Charles knew it was the property's No. 1 buck the minute he spotted a drop tine. The deer was only 12 yards from his stand.
A split-second after his crossbow bolt stung the brute, the 235-pound animal collapsed right there. When Charles' fingers stopped shaking, he texted his buddies.
"Even though I'd seen photographs, I had no idea it was so big," he said. "When the deer was back at camp, my buddies and I just kind of stared at it. None of us had a clue about how to go about measuring those antlers."
BTR master scorer Steve Lucas did.
In addition to being one of the finest whitetails harvested in North America in 2013, Charles' buck is a world record among crossbow entries in the BTR's velvet category. Its composite score is 248 2/8 inches.