Vicarious experiences make deer season a success

Deer season 2021-22 is in the books and for me, it was an outstanding one. I got a thrill when big bucks, some of them with eye-popping stats, appeared in front of the stand. I was there when a trophy buck was stopped by an arrow or bullet. It was a genuine rush for me, but truth to tell, I never sat down in a deer stand this season, not the first time.

My experiences were vicarious, the type Webster defines as “experienced in the imagination through the feelings or actions of another person.” I was there, vicariously, when 38 hunters enjoyed success, hunters who shared their experiences with me allowing me to write about their conquest of big bucks for Louisiana Sportsman magazine and web site.

I felt the chill of excitement when 21 big bucks were downed by conventional firearms; when a dozen more fell to conventional bows and arrows with three succumbing to bolts propelled by crossbows and another pair giving up the ghost to primitive firearms.

I was there on December 12 when Tangipahoa Parish deputy sheriff Daniel Sharkey, nailed the biggest of the bunch, a 20-point buck with a rocking-chair set of antlers that measured 193 5/8 inches.

Hunter Brown got his bow season started on October 2 when he arrowed a 140 inch, 12-point buck in Bienville Parish. Louisiana Sportsman requires the minimum measurement to be featured in the magazine to be 140 inches and Brown got in just under the wire and he was excited to make the cut. I know; I was right there with him.

I was there with Jacques Dugas hunting in Avoyelles Parish on October 3 when a little six-point buck stepped out. We were excited because every time that little fellow appeared, a big buster of a buck always followed him. Sure enough that afternoon, the trophy 13-point followed along and Dugas got him with an arrow, a buck measuring over 182 inches of antler.

On November 14, I was looking over Ross Wigginton’s shoulder as he sat on his back porch that morning in Concordia Parish when an outstanding 17-point buck stepped into his back yard and his crossbow did the trick on the buck with antlers measuring almost 190 inches.

I was with Chad Allison on November 8 when he crawled into the boughs of a fallen cedar near Shongaloo and the buck stuck his head out at 10 feet. Scared us both to death. Thankfully the big 14-point stepped out again at 100 yards and Allison got him. He scored 174 2/8 inches of antler.

The vast majority of the hunters enjoying success were adults with ages from early twenties to seniors growing a bit long in the tooth. At least two, though, were teenagers, a young lady, Kaitlyn Bolton, age 15 and an eighth-grader, Tommy Suggs, also 15.

Kaitlyn had to good fortune of being drawn for a youth lottery hunt on Floy McElroy wildlife management area, the state’s most unusual management area in that only youth and physically challenged individuals are allowed to hunt. I was there on December 11 with Kaitlyn and her dad when she managed to drop the biggest buck ever taken on the area, an 11-point with antler measurements of 159 inches.

Then there is Suggs, hunting with his dad, Tommy, on one stand and his dad on another in Catahoula Parish. Hunting alone, except of course with me in a manner of speaking there looking over his shoulder, Tommy got the crosshairs of his scope on the shoulder of a big 10-point buck that measured 151 inches.

Now that the books are closed on deer season 2021-22, I can finally get some rest. All that typing can wear a body out.