Rives takes a potential state record-sized buck while bow hunting

Published 12:52 am Sunday, December 26, 2010

NATCHEZ — Since he started hunting when he was a child, Will Rives has seen some pretty big deer in his lifetime, he said.

But he’s never seen one as big as the buck he took while hunting Dec. 14. And the State of Mississippi has never seen a deer that big taken by a bow, either.

The buck was given a gross green score of 198 4/8 inches and a net score of 176 7/8 inches before the 60-day drying period. Even after the drying period, the deer is expected to be a new state record in the typical category for bow hunting.

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Rives said taking a deer that big was a great accomplishment, something he’s wanted to do since he was 15.

“It’s also bittersweet, because the chances of me doing it again are pretty slim,” Rives said.

Rives said he had an inkling that a big deer was in the area judging by his surroundings that day.

“Some rubs and scrapes were there, and I got downwind of those and did a couple of rattle sequences,” Rives said. “He came to me the last rattle sequence I did.”

Rives was perched in a tree as he observed what would be his greatest trophy to date. It was nearly 6 p.m. and starting to get dark, Rives said, but he still had enough visibility to take the shot.

“When I first saw him, I just got a glimpse of the horns, and I couldn’t tell he was as big as he was,” Rives said.

“He came in about 13 to 14 yards from me and stalled out. I had an opportunity to draw the bow. I pulled the pin behind my shoulder and had a good shot.”

And as soon as he released, Rives said the buck made another movement.

“He started to turn toward me with the front part of his body as soon as I fired,” Rives said.

After the shot landed behind his front left shoulder, piercing through his lung and coming out his liver, Rives said the deer ran off approximately 45 yards before stopping.

“The area was pretty thick, so I couldn’t get another shot,” he said.

Rives said the buck then looped back the way he came, and Rives thought he heard the deer lay down and die after that. Rives sat around and waited several hours before retrieving him.

Rives is a shooter for Bowie’s Outfitters, which furnishes his equipment. They include a Hoyt Alpha Burner Bow with a Spot Hog sight and three blade rage broadheads. He has Easton Axis 340 arrows, four fletched with 1 1/2-inch fusion vanes.

“All I do is bow hunt,” Rives said. “I’ve been doing it since I was 17, and the last time I rifle hunted was when I was 17.

“I just like getting close to the game. It’s more of a challenge. The wind is a big deal, and you worry about concealment. Once the food’s gone, you have trouble right up until the rut starts.”