Surrounded by the Mississippi River, Giles Island is a 9,000-acre hunting plantation that is managed for trophy bucks. It’s an excellent deer-hunting destination, but like hunters everywhere, they still need some good weather and the rut to get some mature bucks moving.

Last season, guides spotted an out-sized buck with a huge antler on one side but a damaged beam on the other side. Knowing its potential, they decided to put it on the “no hit list” and give it another year. It was nicknamed “The Rock” and everyone waited for the 2012 season.

But The Rock never showed–not on video or trail cameras, or to anyone’s eyes. But manager Jimmy Riley was confident that he would be back, possibly during the rut. Late December is when rutting activity begins in Mississippi and that is when you can anticipate mature
bucks starting to move more and move during daylight.

Hunter Joshua Bruce of Alexandria, Louisiana was waiting in a shooting house over a food plot on December 20 with guide Tony Klingler. It
had been warm for a while and some nasty weather was blowing in with drizzly, windy, cold conditions. That’s what it takes sometimes to get the bucks active.

Bruce and Klinger saw a doe run across the field and behind her was a set of magnificent antlers. They recognized the buck as The Rock, and got camera and rifle up and ready. Bruce took the 170-yard shot with his Remington .30-06 and bagged one of the biggest bucks ever taken in Mississippi.

The buck was unofficially scored at 242 gross. It has 20 scoreable points as a main-frame 11 pointer with nine non-typical points, and weighed 225 pounds.

The most important lesson to learn from this story is the weather and the rut. It’s been said many times before, but a change of weather, particularly when it turns cold, gets the deer up and moving. Also, when the rut is here, big mature bucks that have been absent or unseen all season will suddenly be walking around and looking for and chasing females. This world-class Mississippi buck showed up while it was chasing a doe.

The rut is upon us in Mississippi as well as Alabama, Florida, and eastern Louisiana. Get out in the woods as much as you can now and you may be the one telling your story about the next giant buck.