Trent Boudreaux of Louisiana has been hunting since he was 16 years old. Now 30, he’s learned a few things about the sport. And he taught himself a great lesson about deer hunting recently.

It started two years ago, when Trent was using Google Earth (an excellent hunting tool) to scout areas and saw what looked like a very promising spot in the Red River Wildlife Management Area in the central part of the state, which he hunts regularly with friends. After a long hike in last season, he found very promising sign and hunted there, seeing some does. Trent vowed to return and hunt there again.

This past Thanksgiving, he and some buddies, who call themselves the “Chackbay Thundercats,” hunted Red River. Everyone but Trent killed a deer on that hunt, and he was happy for them, but his season wasn’t over. “I couldn’t stop thinking about the remote spot I had marked on my GPS,” Trent said. He convinced his friend, Blake Trosclair, to make a return trip with him the day after Christmas.

“We made the walk that afternoon to find the game trail I had walked the previous year, and it was even bigger,” Trent relates. “Blake and I counted three fresh ground scrapes that smelled like urine along the walk, and we found a place on the trail that had three or four more trails that broke off. That was plenty enough sign for me to set up, so I picked a tree south of the intersection and put my face to the north.” Blake hunted elsewhere that evening, and while neither saw any deer, both were still very confident in the area and planned to return in the morning.

Two vital strategies are already evident here. Trent and Blake were hunting a remote area that few if any other hunters had been to recently. Anytime you’re hunting public land, getting far from the crowd of other hunters can lead to seeing more deer. Plus, they found hot buck sign. When you located fresh rut sign, as they did, look for a tree to climb and get in it pronto.

“The next morning we made the long trip to our stands to find them covered in ice. I was able to get about twenty feet up in a tree with my Ol’ Man tree stand, and had a light wind in my face. Around 8:45 a.m., the ice started melting and something just felt right. Then, all of sudden, I heard something making its way towards me behind my right shoulder. When I turned my head, a doe stopped dead in her tracks and busted me. I slowly stood to face that direction as she ran off, and man was I glad I did because he was only about ten seconds behind her. He stopped in the exact place she’d busted me, about sixty yards away, only he was looking for her and not me. Without hesitation I drew my .444 and squeezed. The shot felt good, but he ran off like he wasn’t touched.”

Trent was initially unsure of his shot, but later got down to investigate and found a heavy blood trail that led to his prize buck. “I knew it was a big deer, but had no clue he was that nice,” Trent admits. And what a buck it was: the 4 ½-year-old eight-pointer had an 18-inch inside spread and green-scored about 140. At the check station, the buck pulled the scales down to 255 pounds.

If bucks are rutting, you need to get out there. Trent Boudreaux did, and it paid off nicely.