When Charles Harris of Bolton went hunting December 19, his goal was to fill his freezer with deer meat. Not only did he accomplish that goal, he did it with a record-book non-typical buck that gross-scored 185 inches.
"I was just hoping to get another doe," Harris said. "I was just going to get some more meat in the freezer.
"I was able to get two does earlier in the season. I killed them on a friend's place. I gave him one because he hadn't killed one yet. The one I kept I shared with relatives after I had it processed. So, there wasn't a lot left. I'm not a trophy hunter. I just try to fill the freezer up."
What Harris didn't realize was he was about to do just that — and more.
"I had gotten to the stand early," Harris said. "It had just broke daylight.
"When it got light I could see a deer in the corner of the food plot. I guess he was trailing a doe because he had his head almost on the ground."
'I was freaking out': Trophy deer dodges three bullets from couple before wife bags it
'He was skin and bones': Deer on brink of death in Warren County tests positive for CWD
A blocked shot and rattled nerves
That particular corner was a problem, though. Harris said the stand was put in place before the food plot was cleared. After the plot was built, he discovered that corner was difficult to see because it is in a blind spot between the front window and the right window.
Harris had another problem — the antlers. Although he didn't have a clear shot, he knew the antlers were bigger than any he'd ever taken and the effect on Harris was not good.
"I had started getting nervous," Harris said. "I hadn't gotten the shakes yet, but I could feel it coming."
Harris set up to shoot and pointed his rifle to an area where he expected the buck to come into view.
"I had stuck my gun out of the right side of the blind and lined it up with where I thought he was going to walk and the first thing that came into view was the horns," Harris said. "I immediately took the scope off the horns, lined up and shot because I didn't want to get nervous."
However, it appeared rushing the shot may have been a mistake.
"He didn't immediately go down," Harris said. "I tracked him until I got down to specks of blood.
"I was real concerned. I was like, 'Don't tell me this deer got away.'"
Mississippi deer hunting: Patience and perseverance pay off with Coahoma County giant
A record-book buck and a full freezer
Harris got a dog on the trail and it turned out there was no cause for concern. The deer was down only 30 yards from where Harris stopped tracking it.
With four points on one side and seven on the other, Harris knew the buck had bigger antlers than any other he's harvested, but he didn't realize how much bigger.
"He was kind of deceiving," Harris said. "I thought he was maybe a 150-class deer. I had no idea he was a 180-class."
Harris' son, Adrian, took the deer and had it scored. As a non-typical, it grossed 185⅛ inches and netted 175⅛ inches. The main beams measured 28¼ inches and 25 inches with an inside spread of 19¾ inches.
Once the antlers have met the 60-day drying period and are officially scored, they will be well above the 155-inch minimum for a non-typical to make into Mississippi's record book of white-tailed deer, the Magnolia Records Program.
"I was amazed when (Adrian) called me and gave me the score," Harris said. "That was a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be."
So, Harris's deer is one for the record books, but what about that empty space in his freezer?
"Oh, it's full now," Harris said. "Plus, I shared it again with family. From that buck, I feel safe to say we probably got 100 pounds of meat off that deer."
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Mississippi deer hunter harvests 185-class non-typical buck