Talkin' Outdoors

They say the Lord works in mysterious ways. For 30 year old James Howell, divine intervention came into play twice last week.

“I try to be a Godly guy and I can’t help but believe He blessed me twice last week while deer hunting on my lease near St. Francisville in West Feliciana Parish,” Howell said.

On the one hand, Howell who makes his home in Breaux Bridge, was able on the morning of Wednesday, October 4, to put the crosshairs of his Ten Point Venom crossbow on a beautiful 8 point velvet buck that measured 135 inches of velvety bone.

On the other hand, two days earlier Howell came within a whisker of falling 25 feet from his deer stand that malfunctioned. Thankfully, he was wearing a safety harness that left him dangling but kept him from falling.

“Monday morning, October 2, I crawled into a stand on our lease. I was about an hour into the hunt when I was sending a text, shifted my weight a bit and the stand just gave way,” Howell said.

Divine intervention came in two parts when the stand gave way. First, Howell was wearing his safety harness which left him dangling from the tree instead of falling. Secondly, sending a text meant he had his cell phone in his hand.

“The safety harness saved me from falling but because the bottom strap on the stand was still secured, I was trapped between the dangling stand and the tree trunk. Thankfully,” he continued, “I was able to call my hunting buddy who was at the club, he came and helped me get down without any injury.”

The following day, Howell walked in to another stand, put a trail camera out and hunted without seeing anything.

“I had trouble sleeping that night, maybe because of the near mishap I had or because of what my trail cameras were transmitting to my phone. I have an app that sends a signal to my phone, sending pictures in real time of what is being photographed. I checked it and saw I had some good deer at two locations where I had cameras, one on the east side of the lease and the other on the west.

“After showing her the photos, I asked my wife her opinion of which stand I should hunt; she suggested I go to the west stand, so I got up, got dressed and headed to that stand,” Howell said.

Climbing up 25 feet into the stand an hour before daylight, Howell made sure his safety harness was secured, sat back and waited until it was light enough to see.

“About 6:40, I saw something moving around the corn pile I had place 25 years from my stand. My stand was in a big white oak that was raining down acorns but the activity was at the corn pile. Using my binoculars, I saw one of the big bucks I had seen on the camera. After gathering my composure, I placed the crosshairs on my crossbow behind the shoulder, squeezed off a shot and the deer bolted,” he continued.

Howell went back and got his blood trailing black Lab and the duo found the buck that had traveled only 60 yards.

The buck with heavy antlers covered in velvet stretched the tape inside to 19 ¼ inches, tipped the scales at a hefty 220 pounds and measured 135 inches of bone.

“As much as I want to share my success story with the buck,” said Howell, “I want to urge every hunter to never get on a stand without safety harness or Life Line. I really feel my life was spared because I wore one.”