It isn’t often that you get a second chance at a trophy buck. Most hunters know that you have to make that first shot count. One Mississippi deer hunter got the second chance of a lifetime after missing his first shot at a trophy buck. He was able to use the whitetail rut and a pair of rattling antlers to bring home a trophy buck.
Hunting deer is seldom an easy task. It just takes one mistake to blow weeks of planning and hours of waiting. Luckily, the rut makes deer a little less vigilant.
A Missed Shot
According to the Clarion Ledger, Mississippi deer hunter Seth Box was hunting his family’s land when he first spotted the big buck. In mid-December, Box set up a tree stand in a tall pine and settled in to see what would come his way.
He wasn’t in the stand long before a monster buck wandered into his line of sight. He didn’t know how big the deer was but he knew that it would be the biggest buck he had killed in Mississippi. It was whitetail rut season and he knew that the big buck was doing some hunting of his own. Shaken by the sheer size of the animal, Box took aim.
He dropped his crosshairs on the buck. His .270 Winchester Rifle barked. The deer ran for cover. He knew he should have handled it differently. He told the Ledger, “I shouldn’t have shot. I knew I missed him.”
Being a responsible hunter, Seth went to check the area for blood, just in case. He didn’t find anything. He had missed his chance at the big buck. His hunt for the day was over. It was time for Box to pack it in.
When he told his family about it, they just laughed him off. To them, it sounded like a hunter’s version of a fisherman’s tale. The one that got away is always the biggest you’ve ever seen.
Seth Box Used the Whitetail Rut to His Advantage
Seth wasn’t going to give up on his trophy buck. The next day, he spent ten hours in his tree stand. That day, he saw some does and a few smaller bucks but he wasn’t ready to settle. He was on Christmas break from college and the whitetail rut was at its peak. He knew he’d see that big buck again. He’d rather go home empty-handed than take a smaller buck.
The next morning got off to a less-than-ideal start. It was after 7 in the morning before Seth made it to his stand. Luckily for him, it was a cold morning and deer were still moving. He got out his grunt and rattling antlers and started trying to call that big buck back in.
It wasn’t long before a nice eight-point buck came within range. He let the deer go. A little later a small buck rand down the same ridge where the big buck had stood days before. Then, Box’s patience paid off. The big buck was back. He walked onto the same ridge, sniffing the air. He was following the small buck and the does.
Box didn’t want to risk another 450-yard shot. He also knew that if the big buck stayed on the same path, he’d never get any closer. So, the Mississippi hunter decided to call the buck in closer. He reached for his grunt call but realized it had fallen. The call was on the ground about thirty-five feet below. So, he rattled.
“I rattled at him and he put on the brakes,” Box said. “He turned and came down the first hill and went into a valley. I thought he went into the woods, but then he walks up on the next hill in between us.”
Finally, the trophy buck was less than 350 yards away. As Box took a knee to stabilize his rifle, the buck looked right at him. Pressed for time and fearing that he wouldn’t get another chance like this, he took his shot.
This time, Box didn’t need to wonder if he had hit his mark. The deer dropped to the forest floor. It was a clean, quick kill.
Box Bags Trophy Buck
The deer was bigger than Seth Box originally thought. When he first saw it, he thought it would score in the 140 range. After dropping him, Box assumed he was closer to the 160 mark. The big buck ended up scoring 180 and seven-eighths. The hunter doesn’t expect to see another deer that size in the area again.
It must have been satisfying to see the looks on the faces of his family. Sometimes the one that got away is bigger than you thought.