Dan Preaus, 31 year old insurance agent from Ruston, grew up in a hunting family. He shot his first buck at the age of 10 and for the next 14 years, deer season would find Preaus sitting in a tree with his rifle and in the process, took quite a few deer.
In 2003, after spending time working in the woods with his bow-hunting uncle, Mark Preaus, he decided to follow uncle Mark’s advice and give bow hunting a try.
He bought his first bow in 2003 and began the transition from rifle hunter to bow hunter. A year later, things started getting interesting.
“On October 3, 2004, I climbed a tree and arrowed my first buck, a mature deer estimated to be 4 ? years old. This big boy sported a 10 point rack and except for an earlier leg injury that weakened one side of the rack, this buck would have been a 150 class deer,” Preaus explained.
Fast forward exactly seven years to October 3, 2011. Preaus accomplished a remarkable feat; he was sitting in the same tree he had occupied seven years to the date earlier when he arrowed an impressive 12 point buck.
“I had put out a trail camera around a feeder a month or so before season opened and started getting some photos of some nice deer. In several photos, there was a young 8 point and a spike that always showed up together on the camera,” Preaus said.
He didn’t bow hunt opening morning, deciding instead to go squirrel hunting with his dad. That afternoon, he climbed into his stand and saw the same 8 point and spike.
“I pulled the card out of my trail camera, put a new one in and drove home. When I checked the images on the card, the image of a big 12 point buck that showed up several times in the company of the two smaller bucks got my attention. What really got me excited was that the photos were snapped during daylight,” he continued.
“I usually don’t hunt on Sundays but after going to church the next morning, I decided to go back and sit in my stand that afternoon. Here came the 8 point and spike again but no big boy.”
Preaus went to work Monday morning at his insurance agency in Ruston and had lunch with a deer hunting buddy. He felt a bit uneasy about going to the same tree three days in a row, afraid that the buck may become suspicious.
“My friend convinced me that I needed to go back since the deer was showing up during daylight hours, so I went back to the woods after work,” said Preaus.
“I had my hunting clothes and bow in the truck so I changed clothes and headed for the woods, getting on my stand around 5:10.
About 6:45, I heard a deer coming from my right. I shoot right handed so I knew I needed to stand and turn in case I got a shot.
“I saw the 8 point but I heard something behind him and as it stepped through an opening, I saw the rack of the big one,”
There is an old fence line behind his stand and if the two deer continued as they were headed, he’d have a 35 yard shot, about 10 yards farther than he is comfortable shooting. Fortunately, the 8 point took a trail instead that led directly to and slightly behind his lock-on which was secured to the tree some 20 feet above ground.
“I watched the 8 point move on past me and when the big one stepped behind a cedar, I drew my bow. He stepped out at 7 yards, I softly grunted to stop him and released the arrow,” he added.
The shot was true and Preaus watched the buck take off as if unharmed but after traveling 40 yards, it slowed to a walk, began staggering and fell.
“I took the buck to Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop to enter in the big buck contest. It scored 147 4/8, had a 17 3/8 inch inside spread, weighed 175 pounds and if I had to guess, I’d say the deer was only 3 ? years old,” Preaus said.
If Dan Preaus is hunting these woods when he’s 38 years old, I’d wager a guess that on October 3, 2018, he’ll be up in that same tree, trying for a seven year tri-fecta.
Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.