You probably do, if you hunt the Mississippi Delta, where big deer are as iconic as cotton, catfish and done-me-wrong songs.
Andy Lloyd of Inverness, Miss., owns thousands of acres of some of the most fertile ground in North America.
So whenever he has the deer hunting itch, scratching it is as easy as throwing a dart at map.
But don’t count Andy among the privileged, unless you’re envious of his ability to slip away from his job raising and netting catfish so that he can hunt almost every morning and evening whenever the season is open.
The lands he hunts — numerous state and federal wildlife refuges — belong to you, too.
He and his buddies have taken some extraordinary bucks off these public tracts in recent years. Andy smoked his biggest in 2011.
“I remember every second of that hunt,” he says.
On the evening of Dec. 6, a hunting buddy called and persuaded Andy to join him the next day at the Morgan Brake National Wildlife Refuge in Holmes County (between Greenwood and Yazoo City). It didn’t take much convincing, though he hadn’t visited the place since he’d shot a nice 10-pointer there in 2010.
“I hadn’t done any scouting at that particular refuge since then,” Andy said. “So when we got there, I just went back to that same spot, hoping it would be just as good as it was the last time.”
How about better?
Andy was hunting from the ground that day, sitting on a bucket.
“When daylight came, it started sleeting, and the wind picked up. I was just miserable,” he said. “It was one of the coldest days of the year.
“But I could see there was a lot of sign in the area,” he added. “I had already decided I’d return to the same spot in the afternoon.”
By 10:30, Andy had seen an 8-pointer, a couple of smaller bucks and some does. And then he decided a trip to the store was in order.
“I was so cold, I knew it was time to go shopping,” he said. “When I got out of the woods, I bought some cold-weather gear, ate lunch, and then got back in the woods at 1:30.”
About an hour and a half later, the sun fought through the overcast sky, but the temperature started dropping. Andy was comfortable in his new duds, however, which improved his outlook considerably. In terms of hunting conditions, miserable became perfect.
“I saw a shooter about 4 p.m., but it was going away from me and I couldn’t get off a shot,” Andy said.
“Meanwhile, I kept an eye on a big rub and scrape about 50 yards behind me.”
Andy had put a product called Ever Calm in the scrape. But throughout the day, the only buck he’d seen using the scrape was a button-head.
“I was watching straight in front of me, where I’d seen the shooter disappear, hoping it would come back,” Andy said. “When I happened to glance back at the scrape, I saw this buck and started shaking right away.
“I shoot a .50-caliber T/C Omega, and I couldn’t get it cocked,” he added. “I was shaking so bad, my fingers just kept slipping off it.
“Finally, I grabbed it with both hands, cocked the hammer and shot,” he said. “Afterward, the buck wheeled around like it wasn’t even hit.”
Andy called his hunting buddy to share the news, adding sheepishly that he might’ve missed the deer. But his friend was close enough to have heard the bang, and he was more optimistic.
“I heard the shot, and you definitely hit that deer,” he told Andy, who got down to see for himself. Sure enough, there was lots of blood.
“When we got to the buck, I didn’t have to bend down to grab its rack,” Andy said. “Some people told me later that they heard me hollering from more than a mile across the woods.”
The buck is the No. 1 Typical among Mississippi’s blackpowder harvests. Andy believes it’s the same wide-racked buck his brother Jeff saw two years earlier, about 300 yards from where it died.
When Andy and his pal reached the truck with the buck on a dolly, they were met by other hunters who’d gathered to see what had prompted all the shouting. Andy got the same kind of reception at his mother’s home.
“I called some friends on the way to Mama’s house,” he said. “By the time we got there, the yard was full of people.
“I knew this was a good buck, but it wasn’t until I took it to the taxidermist that I found out it was a record,” he said.
Hunter: Andy Lloyd
BTR Score: 192 7/8
– Photos Courtesy Andy Lloyd
This article was published in the August 2014 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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