Josh Clark explained it perfectly. “I mean, it’s crazy,” he told The Clarion-Ledger. “It took me two or three days to understand what I shot.”
Clark is talking about harvesting what may be a new Mississippi record for largest buck. Even crazier, Clark killed the main-frame 11-pointer (a total of 18 points) on public land.
“I killed him on Wednesday and the whole way home I kept looking back in the truck saying, ‘Man, I didn’t kill that,’” he said to the newspaper.
The hunt came in Claiborne County’s Canemount Wildlife Management Area, Clark told the paper. As fate had it, it wasn’t until the last day of his trip when he saw the monster buck. Clark had actually given up hope.
“I didn’t feel confident where I was at,” he told The Clarion-Ledger. “I lowered my gun down to the ground. When I stood up to turn around, I saw a main beam. I said, ‘Oh my goodness.’”
Clark told the newspaper he quietly pulled his rifle back up, found the deer’s shoulder and fired. The recoil of his .35 Whelen was so hard it knocked his hat over his eyes. Clark told The Clarion-Ledger he initially thought he missed the shot once he saw the deer running away. His optimism didn’t kick in until he saw it limping. Once he topped a nearby hill, the paper reports, he saw the deer on the ground.
“By this time I’m freaking out,” he told The Clarion-Ledger.
The newspaper reports the main beam ranges around 25 inches with a 19-inch spread and 7-inch bases. One unofficial score placed the deer at 205 inches, which would make it the highest gross-scoring typical on record in Mississippi.
“When we gross-scored him at 205, he was in the back of the truck,” Clark told The Clarion-Ledger. “I think we’re in the 199 to 202 bracket.
Fox News reports the current record, set by James Saunders in 2010, is a net score of 184 3⁄4 inches. The massive buck will be scored again after the antlers are given 60 days to dry.
“It’s what you dream of growing up,” Clark told the paper. “What made it even better was that I killed it on public land.
“Not too many people can say they shot a 200-inch deer on public land.”