When a Flowood teen made his first attempt to harvest a giant non-typical buck he’d captured images of on camera, it turned into a hunt he’ll never forget.
“August 26 was the first picture I got of him,” J. T. Mardis, 17, said. “It was kind of crazy. He just showed up on our place.”
The photos kept coming and the big buck seemed to prefer a small patch of timber along the Big Black River in Southwest Mississippi.
“It is kind of a peninsula,” Mardis said. “It is a little block of timber about 45 acres.”
Others had hunted the area, but Mardis didn’t go in until October 27. He carried his stand in and hung it in a tree on the same day. However, Mardis wasn’t very confident that he’d encounter the deer.
“I had one picture of him in daylight,” Mardis said. “That was the only daylight picture I got of him.
“It was one o’clock in the middle of the day. I never expected him to come out during the day.”
Mardis sat and waited as the afternoon passed. Hours went by and he saw nothing. Then, as daylight faded, he heard noises.
“I didn’t see anything until right at dark,” Mardis said. “A little 7-point came out right at dark.
“I heard him coming and didn’t see him until he was at 15 yards. It’s dark in there because of the trees. There’s cypress trees and big oaks and they don’t let any sunlight in.”
The 7-point kept coming closer. In fact, about the only way he could have been closer is if he climbed into the stand with Mardis.
“The 7-point was actually smelling the base of the tree where I’d put the stand,” Mardis said. “Then I heard something else coming. I figured it was a buck because they’re running together.”
When the second deer was 15 yards away, Mardis saw him. At 10 yards, Mardis knew it was the non-typical he’d captured images of on camera.”
“Right then, when I recognized him, I said, ‘Oh, my gosh,'” Mardis said. “I had to stop looking at the rack.
“If I’d seen him in the daytime I’d probably have passed out. He ended up stopping five steps from the tree. He stopped and was standing perfectly broadside.”
The buck was only feet away, but the 7-point seemed to be getting nervous. Mardis wasted no time letting an arrow fly because he felt both deer could bolt at any second. The shot was good, but whatever composure Mardis had left in him was gone.
“He went about 50 yards and stopped,” Mardis said. “Everything was silent.
“My legs went numb and I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness.’ I had to lean up against the tree.”
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