‘Buck of a lifetime’ caught on tape

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 13, 2001

FERRIDAY, La. – Jimmy Riley hadn’t killed a deer in five years.

Not that he hadn’t had the opportunity. As a manager at Giles Island Hunting Club, he’d seen his share of big bucks. But one in particular caught his eye.

On Dec. 8, Riley got a great look at the buck of his dreams – the 260-pound, 17-point walked out from the trees in front of his stand. After one shot from his bow, Riley had one of the largest trophy bucks in the state.

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&uot;I couldn’t believe it,&uot; he said. &uot;I’d just killed the buck of a lifetime.&uot;

Riley was well acquainted with the deer. He’d spotted it more than three years ago.

&uot;We’d been watching him, studying him,&uot; Riley said. &uot;We guessed his age at about 3 1/2, and he was an 11-point at the time. But we saw potential in the deer.&uot;

As is common practice on the commercial hunting lodge, Riley, fellow manager Chad Pugh and owner Speed Bancroft began filming the deer and warning guests not to shoot it until it had reached full growth.

&uot;We’re doing that with a lot of deer,&uot; Riley said. &uot;Basically, we’re producing a whole herd of trophy deer.&uot;

The next year, Pugh passed up a shot at the then-4 1/2-year-old deer. It had become a 16-point, but still had potential to grow.

Plus, the Giles Island staff wanted to preserve this hunt for posterity.

&uot;We knew one of us needed to get him, but Bancroft said he wanted it on tape,&uot; Riley said. &uot;I thought that was a pretty tall order.&uot;

So for the first few weeks of this year’s hunting season, Riley and Pugh hunted together, one with a bow, the other with a camcorder.

&uot;He’d hunt one day and I’d film, and then we’d switch,&uot; Riley said. &uot;We switched back and forth four or five times.&uot;

But Dec. 8 was Riley’s lucky day. &uot;Chad knew one of us was going to get him,&uot; Riley said. &uot;His hand was steady as a rock with that camera.&uot;

And Pugh’s work with the camera paid off. The hunt is in the process of being edited into a film, and footage from the hunt will be used in the next installment of the Megabucks video series, Riley said.

The deer itself is paying off for Riley as well. Its 178 Pope and Young non-typical gross score is leading the archery division in contests in Monroe and Ruston.

In fact, Riley said, his deer may turn out at the end of the season to be the No. 2 all-time bow-kill in Louisiana.

&uot;My goal was actually to beat the No. 1 deer, but now I still have something to shoot for,&uot; he said.

And he may get another shot at that record in the near future.

&uot;We’ve already spotted three deer that should have higher scores,&uot; Riley said. &uot;We’ll just wait and see.&uot;