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Fire in the Marsh Helps Man Bag Big, Bayou Buck

Although marsh fires prevented Chase Sonier and his father from heading to the woods one morning, the blaze also caused a trophy-class whitetail to daylight on their trail cameras.

Fire in the Marsh Helps Man Bag Big, Bayou Buck

This big, bayou buck sports a dark and beautiful rack. Photo courtesy of Hunter Marcel

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Lafourche parish in Louisiana is the last stop before you hit the Gulf of Mexico. Fishermen know it as a great place to catch redfish, speckled trout and eat seafood. You would not expect to find big whitetail bucks anywhere near the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Chase Sonier and his father have a small tract of family land in Lafourche parish that they bought recently. They had leased it for a few years prior to the purchase and had always killed a few deer, but nothing too big.

“Hurricane Ida blew through in 2022 and tore the place up,” Chase says. “I saw that as an opportunity to make some improvements during the cleanup, and maybe even get some better deer.”

The 2023 deer season was well under way when Chase spotted an interesting deer on his cell camera. The buck was not close to the camera, but he looked like a shooter. A few days later a marsh fire broke out, and the whole area filled with thick smoke. Interestingly, the trail cameras showed the buck daylighting, and this batch of photos allowed Chase to clearly see the buck’s impressive rack and mass.

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The unique growth lines and tines on this buck’s rack make the trophy even more impressive. Photo courtesy of Hunter Marcel

“There was no doubt about how big he was anymore,” Chase explains. “My dad decided to hunt only that buck!”

And Dad had the first chance to pursue the deer one morning. Unfortunately, the Louisiana State Police shut down the highway because of the fires, ending chances to get to the property that morning.

“No amount of begging worked,” Chase laughs. “They stood firm!”

His father made it for the afternoon hunt, but the big buck did not show. The fire got bad again for a few days, but on Dec. 17, Chase and his dad were able to go on a hunt together. Chase’s father gave him first choice of stands, and Chase decided on “Old Faithful” — the most consistent spot on the property.




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Chase and his father were both pursuing this buck. Interestingly, a marsh fire actually prevented Chase’s father from hunting the buck one morning. Photo courtesy of Hunter Marcel

Chase spent the early morning watching squirrels and birds, but at 9:30 a.m. they all left; and Chase spotted movement in the cover to his right.

“I was expecting a hog,” he says. “But when he picked his head up, there was no doubt what it was!”

Chase shouldered his 6.5 Creedmoor and touched off a fatal round at only 75 yards. The big buck dropped instantly!

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“Then, I started shaking so bad I could not text,” Chase recalls. “I wasn’t nervous before the shot, but I could barely hold my phone afterward.”

The dark rack green scores 189 1/8 – a big whitetail for anywhere, especially southern Louisiana. Each beam carries a wall of tines and unique growth characteristics. Hopefully this Louisiana buck spread his genes!

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Chase Sonier’s 2023 Louisiana buck green scores 189 1/8. Photo courtesy of Hunter Marcel

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