Stephen Rachal Jr. of Flora, and an LEO in Natchitoches Parish, has had his share of bad luck lately. In fact, the last person he pulled over decided he had better things to do than go to jail that night. He ended up putting Stephen in the hospital and on disability for months. As an avid bow hunter he’s chomping at the bit seeing all the kill photos come in of great Louisiana bucks while being confined to the house. Trust me, I know! When Stephen was shown a trail camera picture of a brute that roamed a local private lease and was given an opportunity to hunt him this week his answer was quick and easy. YES!
“He had this buck on camera for a few years now. I got in the stand at 3:30 that afternoon. A 130″ 8 point came by 5 minutes after I got in and settled good… he was just out of range.”
For the next 3 hours Stephen sat and thought how nice it was to finally be back in the woods. At 6:38 PM the action started, and it escalated quickly.
“At 19 yards I first saw him step out of the thicket. It looked like a turkey because all I could see was movement next to the ground. Then I saw the rack! He stopped behind some trees and I couldn’t get a clean shot. He was walking from my right to my left. When I drew back he stopped behind another tree.”
“I had to wedge my bottom cam on the edge of my stand to help me hold it that long. I held it like that for at least 2 minutes.”
This strategy worked for Stephen but please don’t try it at home. The buck finished his evening stroll into an opening and turned to walk away. Stephen blew at the buck to make him turn broadside. It worked and he presented a perfect shot at 24 yards. He jumped the arrow and tried to duck and run. The buck was hit high and back but quartering away so Stephen felt confident that he had connected with vital organs.
“I trailed him over a mile. When I walked up on him while he was still alive. I continued trailing blood while keeping him in sight. He got hung up in some vines and died there.” The buck was recovered nearly 3 hours after he was shot at 9:15 pm. “First thing I said was, “Thank You Lord.” It was a long night for Stephen and his hunting buddy Corey LaCombe who made it back to the 4 wheeler after 11:00 pm.
“I owe it all to God and Corey for inviting me. He just wanted a hunting partner. This spot was his wife’s spot. He had been hunting this particular deer for 2 years. Another buddy had been hunting it for 4 years. My second hunt in this spot ever and I killed him. My first buck with a bow too!” Word is Corey’s wife is mostly happy… a little ticked, but mostly… but still a little ticked.
Stephen also noted how understanding his wife is. “She let me skip our date night to go on this hunt,” he chuckled. You owe her Stephen! He also wanted to thank Randall Dunn, his friend and Archery Coach at Northwood High school for making his custom strings fit to his Mathews Z7 Extreme.
– Justin Lanclos LABH
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