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Mississippi hunter follows record buck with 12-pointer

January 20, 2012 at 01:36 PM

The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Will Rives earned recognition in 2011 when he set a new archery record in Mississippi for typical deer. This month, he says he earned something he feels is just as important.

Call it confirmation.

“Let’s me know that last year wasn’t a fluke,” Rives said of the 12-point buck he stuck on Jan. 2 in Jefferson County.

Green-scored by a biologist, it grossed over 184 inches but with deductions netted 159.

It came on the same property that produced his record 172 4/8-inch buck last season, a deer that grossed over 198 inches.

“Another really good buck,” Rives said. “My luck is still holding up. To kill two (bucks grossing over 180) with a bow in Mississippi in consecutive years is like hitting Powerball.”

Whether Rives admits it or not, beating such odds is indicative of just how good a hunter the man from Natchez has become.

A versatile one, too.

He killed his record buck by rattling and grunting to pique its pre-rut behavior.

His latest trophy required a totally different strategy, and Rives had to do something he rarely does after Thanksgiving.

“I quit hunting food sources in November, but it had been pretty slow the last two weeks,” he said. “I had been hunting steady since Dec. 9, taking a few does and cull bucks but not seeing a single good buck. The four days before Jan. 2, I had seen only two yearlings.

“So I changed strategies. I did a little scouting and found an acorn tree that was dropping pretty good with a lot of tracks around it. It had a thicket to the north and I figured the bucks were tight with the does (staying with a doe until she’s ready to breed). I figured if a doe came to feed at the tree, I had a pretty good chance of getting a shot at a good buck.”

At 3:30 p.m., 1-1/2 hours after climbing the tree, Rives heard a doe tip through some water about 50 yards away. So far, so good.

“But she didn’t come to the tree and hung up in the thicket and just stood there,” he said. “At that point I knew there was a buck pretty close.”

Rives figured that if the doe didn’t lure the buck into shooting range, he’d have to himself.

He had to become a doe and call the buck.

“I took my Primos Can and bleated one time,” he said. “A minute or two passed and I saw him leave the thicket walking towards the acorn tree. He went behind a tree at 25 yards and I drew my bow.”

No, it wasn’t going to be that easy.

The buck stayed behind the tree for what Rives said was two or three minutes. With another doe now just a few yards away, he couldn’t let off the draw. That’s hard to do.

“He finally started walking and got to a hole giving me a shot,” he said. “I had to squat down in the stand to get an arrow through. It hit right behind his shoulder, and it was a quick recovery.”

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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