posted on November 06, 2011 01:01
By Mike Handley
Last month, after describing my morning and showing my hunting buddies the sketches I’d done of the several Oklahoma bucks I’d seen (complete with nicknames), one friend asked why I hadn’t put an arrow through Diamond, a 3-year-old 5x5 whose rack might’ve hit the 135-inch mark.
He asked because he knows I’m not one to let a record-book buck keep on trucking, as a rule.
I thought about it for a couple of beats, and then I told them: “You know, I looked at that rascal inside 30 yards for more than 15 minutes, trying to decide if I wanted to take the chip shot. Then it occurred to me that if I had to study a deer for that long, it wasn’t a shooter. Whenever a real shooter walks up, you don’t have to think.”
That’s what happened to Mike Thompson of Rayville, La., last December. The minute he saw the 13-pointer charge onto the pipeline field and buzz every doe in sight, he didn’t have to think; he wanted it. But not so badly as to take an iffy shot at the deer on the fly.
He hadn’t been sitting in his 20-foot-tall box stand for long on Dec. 14, when 15 does -- a group of five and another of 10 -- filed or ran into the field. The buck was chasing the late arrivals. It never slowed, and it didn’t stay out there long, which meant there was no counting points, but Mike wanted it like a dying man wants religion.
The thing had brow tines that would make Dick Idol weep.
“I didn’t want to miss or wound a buck of that caliber and have it leave the area,” he said, “so I held fire and just watched it run off. That was a hard moment.”
The buck returned half an hour later, just 50 yards from the stand. A grunt call stopped the animal long enough for the former policeman to punch the 10-ring.
“Sometimes it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time,” Mike said. “The other part of hunting is knowing what you’re looking for and putting in the hours.”
And waiting for the right moment to squeeze the trigger.
Mike’s 5x8 has a BTR score of 160, making it No. 14 among rifle-taken Louisiana Typicals. A modest 16 4/8-inch inside spread gives it a composite score of 176 5/8.
The rest of the story, written by Jill Easton, will appear in an upcoming issue of Rack magazine.