Taylor Hance, a contributor for LABH and half of the Whitetail Widow Makers Team with his fiance Krystle lives and hunts in heart of Louisiana's big buck country. The buck he specifically targeted and named "Bodacious", after the PBR bull, is a perfect example of the relationship between soil quality and whitetail body size. The more fertile the soil, the more nutritious the plants. This higher level of nutrition through native forage, hard mast and agriculture can be seen directly in the local deer herd. For example: a 3 yr old buck in SWLA parishes which have sandy, acidic soil and are dominated by pine plantations will average 140 lbs. Where in the River Parishes, Madison, Tensas, Concordia, and Avoyelles the same age buck will average 30-40 pounds heavier and is not uncommon to tip the 200 lb mark in another year or 2. These 4 parishes also maintain a sizable lead in producing the most Boone and Crockett bucks killed in the state.
Taylor hunts 700 acres of private property in Madison Parish that bumps up to Tensas NWR. This is his first year hunting it so he had to do a lot of scouting, trail camera surveying, and information gathering from other current and former hunters familiar with the property.
"I started getting pics of the buck in January. Another guy in the club had been getting pictures of him for 3 years, but no one had ever seen him in person and all of their pictures were at night. They told me he was unkillable. I don't like being told I can't do something... so he immediately became my #1 hitlist buck. I was determined to prove them wrong."
"It was Sunday, October 22. We slept in late that morning. It was the youth hunt weekend and I had hunted with my fiances' son the day before. A big rain hit so we decided to stay home that morning. The rain cleared out about 3:30 that afternoon. I was watching the weather closely as I caught the end of the Saints game before heading out. I got to the woods and began heading to my stand about 4:30 pm. I know a lot late. I actually saw one of my target bucks on the way to my spot. So, I set up on the side of the road but the wind swirled and he busted me. I didn't get to my stand until almost 5:30 pm. It was a short uneventful hunt. I hadn't seen anything. All I could think about was having to wake up for work in the morning and needing to check cameras and cut a nagging limb after I climbed down."
Taylor began packing up a few minutes early to finish his "chores" and to ensure he got home at a decent time. He put his quiver back on his bow, then took the arrow and release off.
"I began pulling up my bow rope and movement caught my eye. I immediately knew it was a big deer. I grabbed my binos to get a good look; it was a big buck! Luckily the tree I'm in is full of foliage and it masked my movement well. I put everything back on my bow as slowly and quietly as possible and drew back." A tedious and daunting task, he described. "It was getting dark and I was having a hard time seeing my pin. After centering everything I finally let it fly. I felt like I hit him farther back than I wanted. I climbed down to inspect the ground where he once stood. No blood at the sight of impact. My arrow was broken in 3 pieces, only 2 of which I could find. (The 3rd ended up being inside the deer.) I walked towards the direction he headed and found good blood a few yards away from the impact sight. Blood trail was spotty beyond that so I backed out and had a sleepless, miserable night. I went back the next morning and began trailing him. I saw where he had laid down and got back up multiple times so I'm glad I let him lay. I found him in the thickest palmettos you can imagine in a 300 yard semi circle from where I shot him. " Taylor unknowingly had killed his #1 hit-list buck, the unkillable "Bodacious" that tipped the scales at 275 pounds even. He gross scored 124 4/8" as he was obviously old and on the decline. Taylor's taxidermist estimates the bruiser to be at least 8 years old. An 8 year old, 275 pound buck with a bow has to be one of the most impressive kills I've seen in recent years come out of Louisiana. Big Congrats Taylor!
Bow: Mathew Halon
Arrow: Gold Tip Kinetic Pierce
Broadhead: Dead Ringer Super Freak
Stand: Advanced Treestands S2 Lock On
Essentials: LABH Grunt Call, Multus Deer Drag, HSS Harness and Lifeline