In a year that was full of surprises, two lucky hunters bagged the buck of their lifetime during the Louisiana whitetail deer season.
Louisiana is well-known for its duck hunts, but don’t overlook the massive whitetail herd that the state has going for it as well. Two local hunters were well aware of what their lands had to offer, and both were able to nab a buck that will more than likely break Louisiana’s 70-year record of the biggest buck harvested in the state.
The first buck was taken by Jason Archer, who was helping friends sight with primitive firearms on opening day in Concordia Parish, November 9, 2013. Archer and his cousin decided that after their early morning community service they still had time for a nice afternoon hunt. Despite mostly seeing hogs from his stand, Archer’s hunt ended with one of the beastliest bucks we’ve seen in a long while.
Archer was hunting on private land that is owned owned by his cousin when he saw a series of bucks exit from the woods headed for some weeds on a dried pond. The first, a small basket-racked 8-point, then a “fairly nice” 10-point buck, but he wasn’t expecting to see what came next – the “biggest buck he had ever seen” started toward some briars near the pond.
“You talk about a case of nerves; I really started getting seriously nervous when I saw the size of that buck,” Archer said. “If it had not been for that limb I left near my stand, I would have had a clear shot at him, but the limb blocked my view.”
Unable to get a shot off his regular shooting shoulder, Archer twisted around and eventually switched to his left, finally able to get the buck in his sights. He took a shot from his Thompson Center Encore .35 Whelen, and the buck stumbled before taking off back into the Conservation Reserve Program land from which he emerged.
“I’m sitting there getting more nervous by the second,” Archer said. “I waited until dark, got down and went and got my cousin to start the search to see if I’d hit the deer. I was discouraged when we found only a couple of specks of blood at the spot he was standing when I shot. However, as we followed the trail, we began finding more blood and walked up on the buck that had only traveled about 50 yards into the CRP.”
When they finally came to where the buck had fallen, they felt like their eyes must be deceiving them. There on the ground lay a beast sporting 16 points and a high and wide rack with 23 1/2 inches between the main beams, which stretched an impressive 29 7/8 inches. The bases of his antlers were more than 7 inches around, and the buck weighed in at a mind-boggling 288 pounds.
The second of the two trophies came from Alex LeBlanc, who shot his buck on December 20, 2013 in St. Landry Parish, as reported by the Louisiana Sportsman. According to LaBlanc, it wasn’t the best day for hunting; the weather was windy, humid, and it was already mid-day, but LeBlanc climbed into his stand anyway around 2:30 p.m., and by 4:00 p.m. he caught a glimpse of something off in the distance. He couldn’t believe his eyes.
“I said, ‘Oh, my goodness,’ I didn’t think he was as big as he was; I just knew he was a big deer. I was shaking trying to get my gun out the window”
LeBlanc, despite kicking off his boots in his stand, got up just in time to see the buck leisurely strolling across a shooting lane, not 50 yards away. He worked quickly and laid the crosshairs of his .270 in the kill zone and pulled the trigger. According to LeBlanc, the deer hit the ground with his chest before recovering and heading off into the woods. Amazed at what he had just seen, he shakily pulled out his phone to call his family.
“I told him I had just shot a monster buck, and he said they were on the way,” LeBlanc said. “I paced around the stand for 10 minutes waiting on them.”
The massive buck didn’t turn out to be too far away – only 50 to 60 yards from where he was shot, and when LeBlanc and his brother got close, he couldn’t help himself but to run straight to it.
“I looked up, and I could see the antlers sticking up,” LeBlanc said. “When I saw it I just took off. When I put my hands on it, I said, ‘I’ve never seen a deer this big before.’”
Louisiana’s current typical whitetail record is nothing to scoff at. The current record buck was taken in Madison Parish, measured 184 6/8 inches, and has sat at the top of record books since 1943. LeBlanc’s buck, which is still awaiting final scoring, came in at a whopping 220 pounds with thick antlers built on 6 1/2-inch bases and sporting a total of 16 points.
A buck so majestic should have a trove of hunters clamoring behind him, but that wasn’t the case for this trophy deer. LeBlanc told the Louisiana Sportsman that, “We didn’t have any pictures of it; it just showed up.”
At this point, it’s not a question of if the record will be broken, but rather who it will be broken by. Archer’s buck scored at more than 210 inches, and LeBlanc’s scored just over 204. With the antlers still drying, it should be a few more weeks before the official announcement is made. Check back here for updates to this story as well as the official announcement from Boone Crockett.