The hunt for “Thumbs”
“Thumbs” a 260lb nine point from Madison Parish has been hunted for over a year by Wendel Luneau and friends. Luneau explained the hunt from the very beginning, “We started running cameras early last year before bow season. We found this deer rolling with the oldest deer on the property, a large seven point. Initially when we found him he was a good eight point but his brow tines set him apart from every other deer on the property. Both of his brow tines were turned out to look like two thumbs. We gave him the nick-name ‘Thumbs’ and that’s what he’s been called ever since.”
Luneau recaps the 2018 season, “We hunted last year and didn’t kill many deer, we really only hunted to see what we had available in the herd. I saw Thumbs several times last year while I was hunting, had a couple shot opportunities as well. We couldn’t figure out exactly how old he was so we made a decision to let him go and see what he would do this year. My most nerve racking moment last year was watching him in a food plot when he started after a couple does towards the property line, not knowing whether the other property owner was on the same page as us I knew I would hear a rifle shot and he would be gone.” However this wasn’t quite the case for “Thumbs.”
Fast forward to this season, “Sure enough, ‘Thumbs’ shows up on camera. We started getting pictures of him” (at the end of August) “on one of our road stands for about a week he showed up in the morning and evening until he disappeared. We were stumped as to where he went and quite disappointed after getting pictures of such an awesome deer in velvet.”
Season opens with still no sign of “Thumbs” yet Luneau and his friend continue pursuit. “We hunted for a few weeks with no sign of him. Finally one morning when a friend of Luneau decided to hunt a food plot on the North end of the property “Thumbs” makes his 2019 season appearance. Luneau explained, “He never gave him a shot opportunity as he hugged the edge of a CRP field about 60 yards away. He did get him on video camera and we were able to confirm 100% it was ‘Thumbs’. After we put out a couple cell cameras we were at LSU for school and continued to get emails left and right, morning-afternoon, morning-afternoon.”
The weekend “Thumbs” fell to Luneau’s arrow, him and his buddies returned to brush duck blinds and make a few deer hunts. Luneau recalls the weekend, “We get there Friday evening (November 8, 2019) and make our rounds, brush a few duck blinds, put out corn and rice bran while figuring out what we were going to do.” They were able to make a final game plan, “There is a food plot on the edge of a little slough and CRP land. ‘Thumbs’ was bedding down near the slough and making his way to the CRP while feeding along the way. Deciding not to hunt the spot the next morning so we didn’t push him out of there. We made the hard decision instead of watching the LSU game in the camp to go climb up to hunt.” (While watching the game on the stand from their phone) “At about 5:20 we had a few does in the food plot. My friend“ (videoing the hunt) ”suddenly notices ‘Thumbs’ coming through the CRP right to us.”
Luneau readies himself for the shot. “Thumbs approaches the feed without paying much attention to the does. We had a bad wind for the hunt but with the windows closed until he was in bow range we figured we would have time to shoot him. ‘Thumbs’ fed for about five minutes very cautiously and wouldn’t turn when he got to 25 yards. Finally starting to turn one of the does made a noise behind us and he looks back towards us broadside giving me the opportunity I was looking for. I centered my bubble, placed my pin on him, and let it fly, my arrow didn’t make a complete pass through and I could see the arrow in him while he was running but knew I was in the vitals. We got out of the stand very excited, high fiving, and hollering. We marked where the blood entered the woods from the field and back out. Getting back to the camp we finish the LSU game and watch the video noticing I hit him a little far back. We decided to give him until 10 o’clock before looking for him. We bring a dog with us and go look. We kept the dog leashed just incase he was still alive. Following good blood through pockets of water in an area that normally floods. We finally come to a big slough after tracking about 200 yards. Crossing the slough we can’t find where he came out. After talking for a little bit, we decided to look throughout the slough. After fanning out we found him with the arrow still in him.” excitement ensued.
Once Luneau cleaned “Thumbs” they found that Lunea had made a liver shot and clipped the back of one lung. Weighing in at 260lbs “Thumbs” was the second largest deer to come off of the property thus far. Six and a half years is what the jaw bone shows “Thumbs” age to be. “Thumbs” was carrying 140 6/8” of antlers. This was Luneau’s first bow buck and his best free range buck ever. With an excellent story this is quite the trophy for this Louisiana Bowhunter.
PSE Bow Madness
340gn Gold Tip Arrow
Rage Hypodermic Broadhead
-Austin M. Bradford, LABH Contributor