The deer season that just ended in Louisiana goes down as a whopping success for me. No, I didn't get my buck but I had the opportunity to interview and write about scores of other hunters who did.
I came away from this past season with enough evidence to validate that Louisiana takes a back seat to few other states when it comes to producing trophy bucks. True, some of the corn-fed giants in Iowa, Kansas and Canada can weigh as much as a Holstein heifer with rocking chairs on their heads but for overall quality, including body size and characteristics of head gear, we're right up there with the best.
Biologists give hunters in management programs such as DMAP and LADT much of the credit for the growing tendency to let young bucks walk rather than shoot the first fork horn or little basket-racked buck they see.
As a result, a buck that lives another year is likely to add body weight and inches to his antlers. Also, these same hunters in general sought out females instead of yearling bucks for the freezer. As a result, the taking of excess does from the hunting club reduced the pressure on available natural food, such as browse, acorns, etc.
The state's regulation allowing only three bucks per hunter per season has undoubtedly played a role in hunters being more selective in what they shoot. Prior to the tagging system, deer hunters could take six bucks per season, and many did. However, knowing you only have three buck tags in your pocket goes a long way toward granting many yearling bucks a reprieve for another year, allowing them to grow. If a plan proposed by biologists this week becomes law, hunters would have the choice of converting one of their buck tags to a "choice" tag, allowing a doe to be taken with the tag.
I have written stories for LA Sportsman magazine and its web site on more than two dozen different trophies taken in Louisiana this season and the compilation of stats on these bucks has been impressive indeed.
These bucks were taken by a variety of weapons from center-fire rifles to compound bows to recurve bows to primitive firearms with one being downed with a handgun.
Three of 25 trophies on which I had statistics were taken during the month of October; nine in November, seven in December and six in January.
Seven of the bucks were taken in the delta parishes you normally expect big deer to grow, Madison, Tensas and Concordia. Three bucks came from Red River Parish while Union Parish produced two trophies this season. The rest were scattered over the state from Vernon to East Carroll; Lincoln to Terrebonne.
The heaviest bodied buck I learned about weighed 275 pounds, a 12 point giant taken with archery equipment by lady archer, Brenda Sullivan in Madison Parish. The oldest buck, a 6 1/2 year old, was taken by Jack Fluitt in Winn Parish.
Scoring highest on the Boone and Crockett scale was a 16 point Madison Parish buck taken by Corey May that unofficially scored 212 1/8.
I evaluated 25 of the bucks on which I had the best statistics, averaged them out to see what a typical buck taken during the 2011-12 season looked like. What I came up with was eye-popping.
The average of these 25 bucks revealed an animal, 5 1/2 years of age weighing 198 pounds sporting a 12 point rack. Inside spread was 19 1/4 inches with a rough Boone and Crockett score of 170.
You can pay big bucks and head to states farther north for a chance at a trophy buck. However as this season has proven, you can save your money, hunt in Louisiana and have a good chance to find your name included in next season's big buck wrap-up.
Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.