Mississippi Hunter Harvests 170-Inch Public Land Buck

by Kayla Zadel

Mississippi continues to produce record-breaking bucks and this hunter has his lucky day when he took down across a 170-inch buck.

The hunter, Darien Ladner, hails from Pass Christian. His harvest had a main-frame 10-point with a split G3 on the left side. Also, the buck had a 20-inch inside spread with 24-inch main beams and gross-scored 170, the Clarion-Ledger reports

However, Ladner was most impressed with the mass. It had 5½-inch bases and carried between 5 inches and 4½ inches of mass almost all the way out.

Darien Ladner’s Shares His Hunting Story

Ladner says that he hunted him for four days, “I was hunting a CRP (Conservation Restoration Program) field. I was sitting in a thicket. I knew the deer was in there because of the sign. There were trees in there the size of my leg that were hooked.”

Panther National Wildlife Refuge was where Ladner chose to hunt, and where he’d been drawn for a five-day muzzleloader hunt. The hunter said that he saw about 20 does and several bucks during the first three days of his hunt. However, Ladner had his sights set on something else.

“I had a six-point chase a doe by me,” Ladner said. “I passed on three other bucks I probably could have shot.”

Mississippi Hunter Continues Pursuit

Ladner didn’t give up his hopes of finding the big buck he wanted. However, when he was sure that Sunday was shaping up to be a repeat of the previous days, Ladner’s luck changed.

“I was sitting on my Millenium seat on the ground,” Ladner stated. “I could hear him coming. First thing I saw were antlers. All I could see were antlers coming through the brush. I knew he was big. The deer came out of the thicket and he was right on top of me. That deer was completely nerve-racking.”

Ladner says that the buck was about 25 yards away. Even though he had his muzzleloader on him, the shot wasn’t one he wanted to take.

“I was trying to get the best shot on him,” says Ladner. “I didn’t want to shoot him in the chest because he was coming straight at me. He turned just a little bit and gave me a shot at that shoulder.”

Ladner fired but lost sight of the deer for a moment due to the cloud of smoke. However, once the smoke cleared could see the deer running, but then again lost visual contact when the buck was about 50 yards away.

Tracking the Buck

Ladner’s excitement got the best of him and he moved from his position to seek out the deer.

“I immediately got out of the chair to see where he ran,” Ladner recalls. “I made a mistake and went too far. He’d stopped 80 yards away, but got up and ran.”

The hunter knew that he had to sit and wait for the buck to expire. After two-and-a-half hours, he started trailing the deer again. But there was one problem. Ladner only found a little amount of blood because of the shot he took. Ladner ended up walking several hundred years trying to find the animal.

However, after a gut feeling, he turned around. Once Ladner made the pivot, he spotted the deer laying about 30 yards from where he previously trekked.

Ladner was Overwhelmed with Nausea

It’s normal for hunters to feel an overwhelming feeling of excitement or to even feel speechless. But Ladner recounts his experience as something of a sick feeling.

“I almost vomited,” he states. “I’ve killed many deer, but he had me plum nervous. The only thing I could think about was hiding him where nobody would find him.”

His feeling of sickness came from his concern of someone stealing his harvest while Ladner went to get help to move the buck. The stature of the animal could’ve been something that someone could easily stumble upon.

“The mass is unbelievable on that deer,” he says. “You’ve got to put your hands on these horns just to see how big they are. Pictures don’t do it justice, at least not the pictures we take.”