By: Glynn Harris
Archery season for deer is underway in Louisiana and already some impressive bucks have been making the news.
As a writer for LA Sportsman magazine, I have had the privilege of covering the stories for three successful deer hunters who got their trophy bucks with either bow and arrow or crossbows.
First to come to my attention was 10 point buck taken with a crossbow by St. Amant hunter Dustin Clouatre on October 1, opening day for archery hunting. His story is especially interesting as the buck he arrowed was taken on a hunting club in E. Baton Rouge parish and the event took place 15 minutes from Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge.
“I was putting out feed the day before season opened, returned to my side-by-side, looked up to see this big buck already sampling the rice bran I had just put out,” said Clouatre.
On opening day, the buck showed up at the bran pile that afternoon and Clouatre shot under him. Remaining in his stand feeling dejected that he had missed the buck, Clouatre was surprised to see the buck once again approach the feed. This time his shot was true on the big 10 point buck scoring 145 4/8 inches of antler mass.
Next up was Arcadia’s Mike Chandler, retired Lincoln Parish school bus driver, who hunts on a lease south of Simsboro. Chandler is a bow hunter but a back injury had reduced his capability to pull back a conventional bow so he opted for a crossbow.
Chandler’s trail cameras had been capturing images of a good buck for the past four years and on the afternoon of October 2, he was hoping for a chance at the buck.
“I don’t use conventional feeders because it seems to me that a mature buck can become leery of feeders so I just put feed on the ground,” said Chandler.
Late that afternoon, Chandler was sitting in his ladder stand when three bucks appeared. He recognized the buck he had been seeing on his camera as one of the three. Waiting until the buck presented a broadside shot, Chandler dropped the big eight point that measured at least 140 inches of antler bone.
Chris Felder lives in the village of Ethel in E. Feliciana Parish and the area he hunts is private land in adjoining W. Feliciana Parish.
The buck he was targeting was still in velvet but had been a no-show on his trail camera; his image finally appeared on the camera one time the week before season opened.
Late on the afternoon of October 1, Felder placed rice bran on the ground before climbing into his lock-on stand he had hung in the woods in a big pine that was located next an oak flat. Momentarily, he began hearing something walking in the woods. It would take a few steps and then stop.
“I thought it may have been one of the smaller bucks I had seen so I reached in my bag and got my phone to start videoing what I thought would be one of the smaller bucks. When the buck stepped into a small clearing with his rack showing, I put down my camera and picked up on compound bow,” Felder said.
The buck finally stepped out and Felder was able to put the pin on the buck’s vitals and released his arrow after which the buck took off through the woods.
After an extended search utilizing the help of friends, he was finally able to retrieve the impressive velvet-racked buck that measured 152 inches of antler. When dressing the buck, Felder was shocked to find the deer had been shot twice before as he retrieved a mushroomed bullet in the bucks shoulder as well as a handful of small shotgun pellets in the neck.
As evidenced by the success of this trio of hunters, this season promises to be one not only exciting but full of intrigue.
FISHING REPORT –
BUSSEY BRAKE – Bass fishing has been fair around grass and timber on soft plastics, jigs and crank baits. Crappie fishing is fair around deep water off the boat dock on shiners or jigs. A few bream are being reported. No report on catfish. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Bass are fair around the grass on jigs and soft plastics. Bream and crappie are slow. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – Bass have been best fishing the river at the junction of river lakes on a variety of lures. Crappie have been best in the river lakes on shiners or jigs. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – The lake is some 5 ½ feet low due to the scheduled drawdown. Look for crappie in the channels where they’re fair on shiners and jigs. Bass have been best in the deeper holes in the channels on soft plastics, crank baits or jigs. Bream fishing is slow but catfish continue to bite cold worms or night crawlers all around the lake. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Bass fishing has been best with some with some small to medium sized fish caught along the sea walls on spinner baits. Stripers are schooling with some caught on shad imitations or trolling white bucktails when they go down. A good many catfish are being caught on trotlines baited with either blood bait or chicken livers. Crappie are fair around the deep tops on shiners or jigs. Bream are slow. For latest information, call Tim Loftin at Kel’s Cove at 927-2264.
CANEY LAKE – Bass to 3 to 4 pounds have been caught on drop shot rigs, tail spinners or Flukes around the grass. Crappie fishing has been fair around deep tops on shiners or jigs. Catfishing has been good tight-lining cold worms. Bream are slow to fair on worms. For latest information contact Bateaux on Caney Lake at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Crappie are fair on shiners or jigs with better results coming in late afternoons. Catfishing has been good. No report on bass or bream. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318-878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – The bass are improving on topwater lures early and jigs and soft plastics later in the day. Crappie and catfish are slow.. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is on a slow fall with bass and catfishing both being good while crappie have been fair. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.
LAKE BRUIN – Bass have been fair on topwaters or soft plastics. Other species are slow For information, contact Carlos Gray at 318/766-0075.