Talkin' Outdoors

Unless you hunt deer with stick and string, it’s time to clean the rifle and store it along with your other hunting equipment and camo stuff back where it was when you took it out in October. Except for a few days left for primitive firearms hunting in areas 4, 5, 6 and 9 of southern Louisiana (see regulations for details) and archery season which continues in most of the state until the fat lady sings on January 31, deer season 2017-18 is history.

This has been a rewarding deer season for me — I put a fat young doe in the freezer — but the reward comes from getting to share hunting success with 38 hunters around the state. These fortunate hunters were able to bring down trophy bucks and my getting to visit with those who downed big bucks and sharing their stories with readers of LA Sportsman magazine and web-site (, it was a successful season, indeed, for me.

I kept a stat sheet of particulars about each of these big bucks that were taken during this deer season and looking back over the sheet and putting a pencil to the figures I compiled, I came up with a composite of what the average big buck looked like.

If you waylaid a big buck that I wrote about during this past season, on average he would have sported 11.2 antler points with an inside spread of 17 6/8 inches. He weighed 205.8 pounds and scored 155.7 inches of antler mass.

As might be expected, most of the bucks were taken in November (14) while the rest were downed in December (12), October (9), and January (3).

Of the ones I wrote about, Claiborne Parish yielded five trophy bucks while Grant, Lincoln and Union Parishes provided fodder for four stories each.

One buck was taken with a cross-bow, two with regular archery equipment while the majority, 35, were downed by hunters using firearms.

Over the course of the season, some real genuine trophy bucks were taken. The highest scoring buck I wrote about was a 215 6/8 inch monster taken in DeSoto Parish by Benny Bell, a buck that weighed 278 pounds.

While 21 of the bucks tipped the scales at 200 pounds or more, the heavyweight champ was taken in Madison Parish on November 22 by Jennifer Wall. Her 11 point buck weighed a whopping 307 pounds. When the buck stepped out, she said her first thought was “it looked like a horse with horns”.

One of the more interesting hunts took place on January 7 in W. Feliciana Parish by Dr. Travis Links. He had to use two types of equipment to down his 12 point buck, shooting first with a rifle and finishing the deer off with bow and arrow.

Surprisingly, quite a few of the trophies taken this season, 15 by actual count, were deer nobody had ever seen before. Likely as not, the rut was taking place and bucks ventured out of their home area looking for receptive does.

Of interest, of the 38 bucks taken, three were taken by lady hunters while three were brought down by youth hunters, two of which, incidentally were young ladies.

While the majority of the trophy bucks were killed on family-owned land or on private hunting clubs, four of the bucks were taken on public lands, wildlife management areas and the Kisatchie National Forest.

Summing it all up, deer season 2017-18 was a success in a number of ways. Some hunters took their “buck of a lifetime”. Others, like 13 year old Meadow McNeal, 8th grader from Bunkie in Avoyelles Parish, commented when she got her first look at the big 8 point buck lying at her feet, “That’s my deer? No way!”