Benny Bell wasn’t surprised when the come-help-me message lit up his phone. His buddy, Brian Cobb, had shot about 7:45 a.m., and the text came afterward.
The two men, along with Benny’s son, Joey, were at the DeSoto Parish hunting club for opening day of Louisiana’s rifle season. They were all watching segments of the same pipeline, probably a half-mile apart. Brian was uphill from Benny.
Benny wasn’t quite ready to leave his 16-foot-high box stand when Brian texted him, so he advised his friend that he would get down around 8:30 and head over to help track the buck the man had shot.
Things didn’t go as planned, however.
“I just happened to look down the right-of-way and saw this big buck step out into the open about 200 yards away,” Benny told Gita Smith, who penned the story for Rack magazine.
Convinced the deer was the large 10-pointer his trail camera had photographed earlier that fall, Benny spent only a second or two looking at the rack. It took even less time for him to squeeze his .270’s trigger.
Bucks don’t linger in the wide open for very long down there.
When Joey arrived, they marked the beginning of a decent blood trail before going to help Brian retrieve his deer.
They picked up the trail of Benny’s buck about 11:30. After following it downhill for almost 300 yards, they rounded a brush pile and jumped the wounded deer.
“All our mouths were hanging open. That was the first good glimpse we had of the 16-point rack,” Benny said. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I think I actually got a little woozy.”
The startled and panicking buck put 40 more yards between them before its antlers became entangled in vines.
A second shot stole its breath.
Benny’s buck has a BTR score of 223 6/8 inches, one of the finest recorded from Louisiana in 2017.
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