After shooting a large buck only steps away, a Mississippi hunter spent a grueling day second-guessing himself and wondering if he’d ever put his hands on the deer.
But with patience and the help of tracking dogs, he walked away with a 160-class monster taken on public land.
“I got out of the woods and went back to camp,” said Chase Borries of Biloxi. “I felt sick.
“I thought maybe there was a 10% chance I’d find him. I beat myself up. I was thinking maybe I shouldn’t have even taken that shot.”
It was Oct. 1, the opening day of Mississippi’s regular archery season. Borries was hunting on public land in the Delta. Borries said he wasn’t as organized as well as he should have been and got off to a late start.
“I think I got in the woods at daybreak,” Borries said. “I got to my spot about 6:45.
“I didn’t even take my stand. I hunted on the ground. I had a little hide in some palmettos.”
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Giant buck suddenly appears
Hunting from the ground isn’t unfamiliar territory for Borries. He said it’s something he frequently does. Like the challenge of hunting public land, he said he enjoys the challenge of hunting from the ground.
Borries said he cleared away leaves where he wanted to sit so he could move without making too much noise. The palmettos provided good concealment. In fact, almost too good. Borries said he had to stand to get a clear view of the surroundings — and that’s what he was doing when something made a sound.
“I just happened to hear something,” Borries said. “I was standing up looking in the opposite direction.
“I turned around and he was six to eight steps from me. All I could see was his body. His head was behind a tree. I didn’t even have my bow in my hand.”
By the size of the body, Borries knew it was a buck, and a big one at that. He dropped to his knees, picked up his bow and began to draw the string while the buck couldn’t see him.
It almost worked — almost. Borries was at half-draw when the buck’s head cleared the tree.
“He immediately checks me,” Borries said. “I just froze.”
The buck took another step and Borries went to full draw. The buck wasn’t spooked, but he appeared unsure of what he’d seen.
“He checks me a second time,” Borries said. “He looks me straight in the eyes.”
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Hunter takes the shot
A squirrel above Borries began making noise. That distracted the buck. The buck began to walk away, but looked at Borries a third time.
Borries knew his luck was running out. He had to take a shot. The buck was quartering away hard and Borries let the arrow go.
The buck was 10 yards away. It buckled, turned and ran. Borries knew he’d hit the deer, but wasn’t sure where.
“I had a bad feeling,” Borries said. “I sat there a little bit and started shaking.”
Borries calmed down after a while and went to look for a blood trail. He found very little. After tracking the deer about 150 yards, he left so he didn’t scare the buck and make it run more.
Because the encounter was so sudden and heart-pounding, he wasn’t sure how large the buck’s antlers were. All he knew was the antlers were heavy and appeared to be a main-frame 8-point, possibly with some abnormal points.
He called a dog handler. As it turned out, the one he wanted, Ben Moore of Pass Christian, was available and in the area.
“His dogs are jam-up,” Borries said. “He tracks deer all over the state. The guy’s an absolute surgeon at what he does.”
They decided to wait until well after dark to bring the dogs.
Even so, Borries had little confidence he’d ever see the deer again and had a long day ahead of him.
“I had to sit there all day thinking about it,” Borries said. “I was crushed.”
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A huge buck on the ground
Moore arrived with his dogs. As he predicted, the dogs sniffed around sorting out smells. Then they started following the scent trail. They crossed a couple of sloughs, but stayed on track and came to an area with thick vegetation.
Dead or alive, Borries felt the deer was in the thick underbrush and he was right. Moore was ahead of him and told him the dogs found the buck.
Borries reaction was immediate.
“Even before I saw it I got choked up,” Borries said. “Sure enough, he was laying there.
“He was everything I was thinking, plus more. I fell to pieces. I was hooting and hollering and hugging everybody.”
As a non-typical, the buck unofficially has a gross score of 161 5/8. It has 14 points. The main beams measure 25 2/8 inches and 24 7/8 inches with a 19 2/8-inch inside spread. The bases measure 5 4/8 inches and 5 2/8 inches and the mass carries well into the main beams.
It was the end of a day of highs and lows and a hunt he’ll never forget.
“It was just meant to be,” Borries said. “To be able to see that deer and put my hands on it was incredible. I would have never thought in a million years I would have killed a deer like that from the ground on Oct. 1 on public land.”
Contact Brian Broom at 601-961-7225 or [email protected].