Patience earns big trophy for Texas deer hunter who let his chances slip away as antlers continued to grow

Joel Colston of Livingston had an early jump into the general deer season which started on November 6, and it paid off with a remarkable white-tailed deer wearing a magnificent crown.

Texas Big Awards Program scorer Erik Van Dorn of Huntsville posted the 18-point scorer at 199 3/8 raw using the Boone and Crockett scoring system. The huge 190 2/8 mesh rack after deduction for lack of symmetry. It’s the best non-typical TBGA at large reported statewide this season.

There are a lot of great lessons that ambitious deer handlers can learn from Colston’s whopper.

For starters, this makes it clear what can happen when like-minded hunters watch out for those itchy trigger fingers and let young men walk.

Deer also exemplifies the benefits of providing protein and other nutritious foods in the off-season to fuel new antler growth after the previous year’s antler had melted.

Colston hunts on a 1,600 acre club he shares with six other members in Trinity County. The lease has operated under the guidelines of the deer land management program managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (MLDP) for nearly two decades.

The main goals of the program are to help promote healthier deer herds, improve habitat, and ultimately produce more and better males on private land.

MLD conservation level clubs pay an annual fee to TPWD in exchange for the opportunity to work with a state wildlife biologist, developing suitable habitat and harvest recommendations to meet deer management goals. for specific properties.

Program participants are required to maintain accurate harvest data and adhere to prescribed habitat management practices from year to year.

MLD hunters are rewarded for their good deeds with nice perks. Among them, greater flexibility in the management of their deer herds by allowing longer seasons and more lenient harvest quotas.

This year, MLD clubs statewide were allowed to start hunting with rifles at the start of the archery season only on October 2. That’s how Colston found himself in a blind box a week later with a 6.5 Creedmoor on his lap.

He was hoping for an afternoon date with “Triple Crown”. And he got it.

Colston said he and his hunting buddies tagged the buck with the catchy nickname due to the unique cluster of points that sprouted from his G2s.

“He’s a really cool male,” Colston said. “I don’t know if I can ever beat him – not free range in East Texas, anyway.”

A nighttime photo of Triple Crown at 2.5 years old.(Courtesy of Joel Colston)

Let it grow

Colston’s relationship with the manly-looking whitetail deer dates back to 2019, when a promising young 10-point pointer began showing up on hunting cameras positioned at protein stations and corn feeders every day. corners of the property.

Colston said the 2.5-year-old male may have scored around 125 B&C at the time. “He traveled throughout the term of the lease,” he recalls. “Everyone saw it. You never knew where he was going to be.

Many hunters would have shot the buck if given the chance, but not on Colston’s lease. Growing quality dollars is the name of the game out there.

Club members are well trained in judging white deer on the field, and they are limited to strict guidelines when it comes to pulling the trigger, especially on special dogs who display the potential of the Triple. Crown at such a young age.

Stacking on bone

Surprisingly, Triple Crown’s headgear exploded ahead of the 2020 season, easily stacking up to around 30-35 inches of mass, teeth, and beam length.

Colston said he observed the 3.5-year-old deer for an hour at one of his feeders on opening day last October. He had 14 points and estimated the buck to score in the mid-160s.

Triple Crown, at 3 and a half, pictured at a deer feeder.
Triple Crown, at 3 and a half, photographed at a deer feeder.(Courtesy of Joel Colston)

Colston showed a video of the exceptional male to the other members, and everyone agreed on the age of the male. Likewise, they chose to give him another year to grow up.

“We knew it was risky to do this, because we have neighbors around us who we have lost a lot of good deer with over the years,” said Colston. “All we could do was hope he didn’t go and get shot. Fortunately, he never left our club last season. If he did, it wasn’t for very long.

Colston said the male lost his antlers last March and didn’t show up for the camera until mid-July, about four months after the 2021 antler growing season began.

Members of the club were shocked at what they saw in the huge dollar that everyone believed was no more than 4.5 years old.

“It really blew up this year,” Colston said. “We were all in disbelief that it was him, but there was no doubt. It’s scary to think of what this deer could have become with a year or two, but we all knew we couldn’t take that risk. Everyone agreed that whoever gets the chance should go ahead and shoot him.

A Triple Crown meeting

Several club members have had photos of the buck throughout the summer, most of them under cover of darkness. Colston said he collected a photo of the deer in daylight the week before the MLD season opened on October 2, but never laid eyes on the animal this fall until until a magical sunset falls over Trinity County on October 9th.

The hunter said he was observing a group of deer about 150 yards away when he turned to check an adjacent road that leads to his stand. It was then that he saw an amazing male with large gnarled antlers resembling something out of a fairy tale.

“He was just standing there looking at me, about 80 yards away,” he said.

Colston didn’t have to think twice before picking up his rifle, but it took a few seconds for him to prepare for the shot. Meanwhile, Triple Crown took off from the road and headed for the adjacent clearcut.

Luckily for Coltson, the male checked before blending into the thick brush.

“I don’t know why he stopped, but it gave me just enough time to shoot,” he said. “Everything went perfectly. “

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