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Campbell kills monster buck

By By Mike Giles/The Meridian Star
Dec. 14, 2001
Tim Campbell of Poplarville experienced the hunt of a lifetime last week at the Mahannah Wildlife Management Area in Issaquena County. Campbell killed one of the biggest bucks ever taken in the state. The magnificent deer weighed 272 pounds and sported 22 points on his massive antlers.
That's a lot of deer! The buck had a 207/8 inch inside spread. It was weighed, aged and measured, by conservation officers of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. Deer of this size are not unusual in the extreme northern part of the United States or Canada, but a 200-pounder is big for our state.
The big bruiser was aged at 51/2 years old and had antler circumferences of 8 inches at the bases. Even more impressive was the fact that the mass got larger where the tines started coming off the main beams. In some of those areas the beams measured 10 and 11 inches in circumference. The deer scored 1913/8 on the Buckmasters point system. With the inside spread measurement added to it for the Original Buck Bounty contest, the deer had a composite score of 211 3/8.
Special regulations
Mahannah Wildlife Management Area is located north of Vicksburg in the lower part of the Delta. This WMA is managed by the state strictly for quality deer, and is subject to special rules and seasons as set forth by the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. In order to hunt on the WMA, hunters must send in applications to participate in a special doe hunt, with buck hunting opportunities based on a doe harvest.
Campbell's son-in-law, Owen Brayson, sent in an application and was drawn. Each person that is drawn is permitted to take a hunting partner. In this case, Brayson took along Tim Campbell.
Campbell's odyssey began during extremely hot hunting weather back in November. The pair were allowed 3 hunting days. Their objective was to kill a mature doe over 11/2 years old weighing at least 85 pounds.
Although Campbell saw three mounting-size bucks during the hunt, there wasn't much deer movement. He had to cover a lot of ground while stalk hunting, hoping for a shot at a doe. Finally on Nov. 12th, he scored on a nice doe.
By harvesting that doe, Campbell was eligible for a drawing to hunt a buck during a special six-day season. Campbell hit the jackpot and was drawn for the hunt that was set for Dec. 2-7.
Special rifle hunt
Campbell has been hunting the WMA intermittently for about 10 years, so he was familiar with the lay of the land. However, as he arrived on the first day of the hunt that Sunday, he discovered that his preferred hunting area had been flooded by heavy rains. Since he couldn't hunt his favorite spots, he worked the adjacent area.
During the first morning, he spotted four deer, the biggest being an 8-pointer. Knowing the quality of the bucks on the WMA however, he held out for a bigger one. That afternoon, he decided to hunt old cotton fields that had grown up in brush and small trees. Just before dark, he saw a nice buck with a large rack at a distance of about 500 yards. During the next couple of days he scouted the area for buck sign. He was rewarded when he found one area loaded with rubs and scrapes.
Moment of truth
On Wednesday morning he climbed a tree in the area. By 8:30 or 9 he had not seen anything and decided to ease his way back to his truck for a snack. As he slowly stalked toward the truck, he suddenly saw a nice buck jumping and leaping over the high weeds and thick brush no more than 150 yards from the truck.
With the buck approaching at about 70-80 yards, Campbell knew he wouldn't have a better shot. Finally the deer passed through a small opening and Campbell readied his 25-06.
Evidently another hunter had spooked the buck from its bed and directly into Campbell's path. It wasn't until he actually stood over the downed buck that he realized what a monster he had dropped. Campbell had truly experienced the hunt of a lifetime, in part due to the game management work of the people at the Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
Accordingly, Campbell thanked the personnel at the Mahannah Wildlife Management Area for their hard work in helping to provide Mississippians with a quality hunting experience. One thing is for sure; Campbell's hunt of a lifetime won't soon be forgotten!
In a gesture of gratitude, Campbell has agreed to donate the deer to the Natural Science Museum in Jackson. Sometime in the near future, the outstanding monarch will be on display for everyone to view and enjoy!
Mike Giles is a freelance writer who writes columns for The Meridian Star.