WATER VALLEY – A Louisiana hunter made an important phone call to his wife after bagging a giant nine-point buck on opening day of deer season. Nick Person, 30, called to report that his first buck was going on the wall.
Nick was hunting family land in Yalobusha County a few miles northeast of Water Valley with his brother, Philip Person, Saturday morning. It was the first time he has hunted the property in almost eight years after serving four years in the United States Marine Corps and welcoming an addition to his family with the birth of his son last year. He lives in the New Orleans area and the brothers came up to visit their grandfather, James Person.
Nick and Philip got to the woods an hour before daylight and were in a deer stand for several hours before spotting the buck walking across a power line right-of-way. Nick pulled the trigger and the deer kicked up his hind legs. He shot the deer a second time before it ran down a hill and out of sight.
“I didn’t know how big it was, I just knew it was at least a six-point which would have been great for me,” Nick recalled.
The brothers looked for two hours, but the wounded buck’s blood trail played out. They reached out to Paul Fischer, who also hunts the property, and he put them in touch with Tom Hill Tracking and Recovery.
“I got there in about an hour,” Tom Hill said. “He just told me it was a buck, he didn’t say it was a monster.”
Hill’s Catahoulas, Ringo and Jade, picked up the track and trailed the wounded buck about 100 yards before he crossed the county road and went on another landowner’s property.
“I knew the landowner, so I called and got permission,” Hill said.
They crossed the road and the dogs went another 250 yards and bayed the buck. A few minutes later the hunters were able to finish the job.
“I said, ‘Man, you have killed a buck of a lifetime. That is a stud of a buck for a hill deer,’” Hill told the hunter when the commotion ended and the buck was down. The buck had an impressive rack with an inside spread of 20 and three-quarters inches, easily the one of the biggest bucks Hill has ever helped recover in Yalobusha County.
“Nick was just speechless,” Hill said.
“I have shot does before, but never a buck,” Nick added.
Nick’s shot was a little low in the front shoulder, just missing the vitals. A second shot was also non-fatal.
“He was disappointed in his shot after he found it. He was in the Marines and is a firearm instructor,” Hill recalled. “We didn’t get much blood.”
“We had never seen dogs track deer before, it was one of the coolest experiences I have seen,” Nick said. “This deer would not have been recovered without them.”
“I have been coming to visit Water Valley since I was 11 years old. Of course, we come every August for the Watermelon Carnival,” Nick said. He probably won’t be back in the woods again this season. Instead he hopes his friend, Paul Fischer, will have success.
“He let me sit in his stand, I hope he gets one even bigger,” Nick said.
Nick plans to return next season and bring his son.
“I hope to have my son, Jack, in the stand as long as my wife, Gabrielle says it is okay,” Nick shared.