Jacey Broussard doesn't mess around when it comes to big bucks.
The Louisiana native had just bought a brand new bow over the summer and had every intention of using it all season long. But the first time she saw that buck, she knew it was time to get down to business.
And now she has quite the trophy to show for it.
Trading her bow for a 7mm Mag, Broussard shot this 226-inch monster whitetail over Thanksgiving weekend on her father's property near Moss Bluff in Calcasieu Parish, La.
It's a kill that almost didn't happen. Broussard later found out that the buck -- which weighed just 160 pounds -- was an escapee from a fenced-in deer enclosure over a mile-and-a-half away. Escape is probably one decision the deer regretted.
And therein lies the problem. The 31-point beast isn't going in the record books, according to a report from KPLC-TV. Because the deer was tagged and owned by the RiverRoad Whitetails ranch, the deer cannot qualify as a state record.
Broussard said she had tracked the buck for nearly a month on her father-in-law's 480-acre property near Moss Bluff. She first spotted the buck while training her horse on the property, and said she couldn't believe her eyes when she saw it.
"I honestly for s second I couldn't believe it was a whitetail," Broussard said. "That's how big this deer was."
For the next few months, Broussard and her family tracked the buck with trail cameras. She spotted the deer several times in a treestand set up about 26.5 yards from a feeder, but the sightings amounted strictly to close calls, including two straight days where the buck -- which Jacey said "sounded like a train" coming through the brush -- made an appearance close to her stand before disappearing back into the brush.
Some taunting from her father-in-law, who jokingly printed off trail cam photos of the deer on Thanksgiving, only motivated her more.
The following Saturday, Broussard returned to the stand, dead-set on getting the kill. At first, she said, she played on her cell phone to keep her awake and occupied, but decided to get serious at about 8:30 a.m., put her gloves on and put the phone away.
"It wasn't 10 minutes later, he comes running out to my right ... and he ran between me and the feeder, and I shot him when he was running," she said. "He jumped straight up in the air, and his left leg kind of locked up on his side and he took off running. He fell maybe 15-20 yards to my left.
"It was crazy. I couldn't believe I finally got this deer after all the hard work and my father-in-law just torturing me about it. It just still amazed me that I saw him four different times and I was the only one to see him until everybody came up to see him that afternoon."
It wasn't long after the family discovered the buck had been tagged and was owned by RiverRoad Whitetails ranch, managed by Gene Trahan, who had done business with Broussard's father-in-law in the past, she said, speculating that the deer had probably escaped the ranch several weeks ago when an electric fence was being renovated.
Broussard said Trahan and the ranch employees have been great about the situation. In most cases, hunters who shoot tagged deer must reimburse the owner for the amount of the animal, and may be asked to return the kill. In this case, however, Broussard said Trahan was thrilled that she was the one to shoot it -- he even allowed her to keep the deer, which is currently at Steve German's Taxidermy Art in Westlake, La. The buck will soon be mounted at Broussard's home.
"They've been just amazing," Broussard said the ranch officials. "... They've been so great about this deer."
But what about the record? Well that's secondary, if you ask Broussard. Though she had originally heard the tag wouldn't have mattered in Boone & Crockett scoring, that didn't quite turn out -- a tough break, considering the reigning Louisiana buck scored 195. Still, though the record eluded her, Broussard said it can't possibly take away from the experience.
"There's nothing on Earth that can take that away," Broussard said.
What do you think? Are high-fence escapees eligible for the record books, or should they be disqualified?