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2013: The 'Golden Buck Season' in Louisiana

Louisiana saw a long-time record beaten twice in 2013, making this year a Golden Buck Season.

Generally, we measure hunting seasons by the success that we ourselves enjoyed. We look at our trophies or at how full our tag was, and we do a mental ranking of sorts that puts the "good" years on top and the "bad" years on the bottom. Even so, a measurement of success needs to take into account the entire season in an entire state or region. Louisiana, for instance, may have just experienced a Golden Buck Season in 2013.

With that in mind, the harvest of not one, but two potentially record breaking bucks in Louisiana will almost undoubtedly go down as a historical marker of a "good" hunting season in the state. Prior to this year's season kickoff, the Louisiana state record for largest typical whitetail buck had stood for 70 years. It appeared that the record setting buck, harvested in 1943 by a hunter named Madison Parish and measuring 184 6/8 inches in length, had been anything but typical. In fact, the dearth of similarly sized "typical" whitetails throughout the seven decades following Parish's kill essentially posited his record breaking deer as an abnormally sized specimen, the likes of which the state would never see again.

That assumption, it turns out, was wrong. The 2013 Louisiana hunting season saw not one, but two typical bucks that measured in at sizes surpassing Parish's 1943 behemoth. One of those was scored by a 20-year-old hunter named Alex LeBlanc on December 20. The temperatures were hot for December, soaring all the way into the high 70s, and LeBlanc had more or less given up hope of scoring a deer on his cousin's St. Landry Parish. Then, just after 4 p.m., a monster walked out of the woods. He took aim and fired, landing a virtual killing shot in the process. The buck stumbled and ran, but only made it 50 yards before collapsing into a heap. When LeBlanc and his uncle tracked the buck down, they were shocked at their good fortune: it was a 220 pounder, with a gross score of 211 1/8 inches. Merry Christmas, indeed.

LeBlanc's buck was undeniably massive, and would have been enough to clinch the state record- and make 2013 a notable deer hunting season in Louisiana - by itself. Somehow though, LeBlanc's career defining harvest wasn't even the biggest typical buck scored in Louisiana this hunting season. That title belongs to a hunter named Jason Archer, who scored what could ultimately go down in history as one of the biggest bucks of all time. The whitetail in question, which was shot in Concordia County on November 9, supposedly boasts a gross score of 223 7/8 inches.

That doesn't just beat the record; it absolutely demolishes it. Needless to say, if these two scores are confirmed, the records books for Louisiana typical buck hunting will look almost entirely different. The size of the bucks by itself is surprising, especially for Archer. But what's most notable is that both bucks were taken in the same month and a half span, after the state went 70 years without seeing a deer of similar size.

In other words, if you want a monster of a typical buck, you might want to go to Louisiana.

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2013: The 'Golden Buck Season' in Louisiana