As Louisiana’s deer season winds down, some exciting stories of the conquest of trophy bucks continue to filter in. Most were taken on private hunting leases but a few came from wildlife management areas utilized by the public.
Brad Doughty, service technician for Poly Processing, got his big Christmas present one day late last month. On December 26, Doughty downed a big 11 point buck on Jackson Bienville wildlife management area. Taking such a quality buck on public land is common-place for the Downsville resident. He only deer hunts on public land, and with good reason.
“There are some big mature deer there,” Doughty said. “For the past 13 years, I’ve only hunted public management areas, mainly D’Arbonne, Union and Jackson-Bienville. The past few years,” Doughty noted, “I have mostly hunted Jackson Bienville because it seems this area has more really good bucks. I don’t shoot does here but get my venison on D’Arbonne and Union. I leave the does alone on Jackson Bienville because I know they’re likely to bring a good buck my way.”
Jackson Bienville wildlife management area consists of some 25,000 acres and is owned principally by Weyerhaeuser Company. Active timber management takes place on the area perpetually and Doughty believes this activity creates the perfect habitat for deer to live longer and thus, to develop heavy bodies and impressive racks.
The fact that Jackson Bienville is heavily hunted doesn’t bother Union Parish resident Doughty in the least as the areas he hunts where he regularly encounters mature bucks are areas also heavily utilized by other hunters.
“The fact that there is a good population of does is attractive to me, not for meat, but where there are does, there are bucks,” Doughty continued.
Earlier this season, Doughty downed a big 230 pound 8 point buck in the area on a morning he was surrounded by other hunters.
“I heard a buck grunting and got a glimpse of him as he moved into a little thicket and apparently laid down. Around mid-morning, the other hunters left and I used my Primos Can and grunt call to bring the buck out of his bed where I shot him,” he said.
On December 26, Doughty secured his climbing stand to a big pine and scaled some 35 feet up the tree to enable him to see down into the thick growth where he felt the deer were hanging out.
“I had seen does in this thick stuff earlier and as the rut was kicking in, I felt I might get a chance at a buck following a doe. Around 7:30 that morning, I heard some hogs off to my left and turned to look in that direction.
When I turned back, I saw a deer move in the thicket. When he turned to look toward me, I could see the tall heavy rack and knew this was a mature buck. When he stepped out into a trail about 70 yards away, I shot and he ran into a pine thicket. I got down, followed the blood trail for 50 yards and found him piled up,” Doughty noted.
The buck was a dandy, especially for one coming off public land with heavy hunting pressure. The rack featured 11 points with an inside spread of 15 7/8 inches, G-2s of 12 1/8 inches, G-3s 9 3/8 inches with 5 inch bases and rough scored 150 3/8.
“I talk with biologists and enforcement agents who work this area and find where mature bucks have been seen. I scout heavily and when I find big rubs and thick foliage, this is where I hunt. On this particular spot,” Doughty said, “I have killed several good bucks because the area features cover and food sources, everything a mature deer might look for.”
Although the current season is winding down, deer hunters next season may want to consider what Doughty does. He doesn’t worry about other hunters but locates and stays with those prime areas on public land where the big deer hang out.