Whether it's whitetail hunting, football, business or other endeavors, this close-knit family of hunters usually finds a way to make things happen, and that's precisely what young Green Campbell did last October.
It started simply enough for 14-year-old Christopher Greenwood "Green" Campbell Jr. last October. He and his dad, Shreveport businessman Chris Campbell, decided to put out a trail camera on their 200-acre horse farm just outside Shreveport, Louisiana, to see what creatures would show up on the digital viewer.
Two proud hunters: Green Campbell, 14, and his dad, Chris, were all smiles last Oct. 23 after Green downed this massive 31-point megabuck in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, on the family horse farm. The monster green-scored 249 7/8. The Campbells were tipped off about this buck by a trail camera photo taken four days earlier.
On Saturday morning, Oct. 20, 2007, Green and his dad were shocked at the photos the camera had taken. Among the shots recorded was one of an unbelievable animal. It was a full-bodied close-up image of a huge non-typical buck no one had ever seen before. "I immediately claimed the buck," Green said, explaining that his dad and younger brother Collier had already taken impressive bucks during the past couple of hunting seasons. "Dad agreed that it was my turn and I could hunt this buck without competition from him or Collier."
Green was not able to hunt the big buck that day because of an important event held that night in Baton Rouge some four hours away from home. Green's grandfather, "Bo" Campbell, had been a star running back for the LSU Tigers in the early 1960s, playing in three post-season games during that period. Thus, since Green's birth, LSU football has been an integral part of his life. Auburn University was on the schedule for the game with LSU 20, and despite the images on the trail camera, the big buck would have to wait at least a day.
LSU won the exciting game in the last second, and the Campbell clan headed back to Shreveport. They arrived home in the wee hours of the morning. <
b>READY FOR ACTION
"I got to bed after 3 a.m., but I couldn't sleep very well for thinking about that big buck," Green said. "So I got my dad up at 6 a.m. and pleaded with him to take me to the stand we had put up, an Ole Man climbing stand. Since it was muzzleloader season and I didn't have one, I borrowed my dad's gun. I climbed into my stand and hunted awhile. I saw a couple of does and that was it."
As it turned out, Green was indeed fortunate that the big buck didn't show himself that morning, because his dad's muzzleloader malfunctioned.
"After the hunt, I shot the gun into a clay bank to unload it, and when I pulled the trigger, only the primer ignited. I guess my string of good luck was still with me because I don't know what I would have done if the gun had misfired on that big buck."
Green hunted the stand again that afternoon but felt uneasy because the wind had picked up and was blowing directly into the thick, brushy area that he felt the buck was probably bedded in. Again, a few does showed up, but the buck was a no-show.
Green is a 9th grader. He attends Byrd High School, where he is a member of the baseball team. He begged his dad, without success, to let him skip baseball practice after school on Monday afternoon. However, the next day, Tuesday, Oct. 23, Green had no baseball practice, and Chris agreed to take him to his stand.
SOMETHING BIG IN THE WIND
"Dad picked me up at school. We drove home, where I quickly showered with some scent-free soap and shampoo and jumped into my hunting clothes. My grandfather loaned me his muzzleloader, a .45-caliber CVA with open sights.
Dad and Granddad walked me in to the stand. My grandfather was to pick me up after the hunt because Dad was scheduled to attend my sister's basketball game.
"Although the wind was blowing, a front had passed and the wind was now coming from the right direction. Late that afternoon, the wind died down and I began to feel really confident that something might happen.
"About 45 minutes after I got in my stand, which was up in a native pecan tree, two small bucks, a 6-point and a funky-looking 3-point, came out and began crunching on the pecans that the wind had knocked loose. I recognized the weird-looking buck because I had seen him with the big buck in one of the trail-cam pictures. He had a long spike on one side and a fork on the other. When I saw him, I got excited, thinking that maybe the big buck would feel comfortable with him around since we had a photo of them together.
"Finally the 6-point fed on off, leaving the 3-point still eating pecans. Suddenly I had this strange feeling that something was about to happen. It was around 6:25 and the sun was starting to get low in the sky when I looked up the road, and there he was. He walked into a shaft of sunlight that seemed to put a spotlight on his rack. I'd never seen anything like it. I did the only thing I knew to do then. I bowed my head, closed my eyes and said a prayer. I prayed for the ability to remain calm and not to mess up."
DON'T LOOK AT HIS ANTLERS
"My dad had always told me that when a big buck steps out, once you see the antlers, start focusing on his body and not his rack," Green continued. "I did this and it calmed me down a little. He was walking straight toward me, and I knew if he looked up, he'd be looking right at me. I tried to keep my composure by looking at the little 3-point buck feeding near the big one because I knew if I looked back at that rack one more time, I'd lose it."
The buck stopped at 15 yards and was slightly quartering toward the young hunter when Green decided to take the shot.
"Dad had always told me that when you get a decent shot at a big buck, you'd better take it because that's the only chance you'll probably have, so I aligned the sights in front of his shoulder and squeezed the trigger. He dropped right on the spot."
The youngster thought he'd messed up because of what he did as soon as the buck fell.
"I stood up, pumped my fist and hollered 'YES!' Immediately the buck jumped up and ran right under my tree. I thought I was going to die for letting him get away, but then he stopped, staggered and toppled over."
The first thing Green did was dig into his pocket for his cell phone. With trembling fingers, he called his dad. Chris, however, was inside a metal barn preparing to feed horses and didn't hear the phone.
THE CELEBRATION BE
"Once I got out of the barn and checked my cell phone, I had six messages, all from Green," Chris explained. "I'm probably never going to delete that first message. He was hyperventilating and he said something like, 'Dad, I got him! I'm shaking so bad, but I got him!'
"I immediately called the mother of one of my daughter's teammates and asked her to pick up my daughter," Chris continued. "I explained that I was sorry I couldn't make the game that night because Green had shot a big buck and I had to help him. Green was able to contact my dad, who jumped on his 4-wheeler and drove in. I crawled in my truck, and when I got there, it was a time of celebration. We were all acting like giddy kids."
The 200-acre horse farm consists of 65 acres of pasture and 135 acres of woods, including briar and thorn thickets. Surrounding the property, which is located within a stone's throw of the Shreveport city limits, are homes, a fire station, water treatment facilities and a railroad track. Soybean fields grow near the property, and the land lies in close proximity to the Red River.
"I think the buck felt safe in that sanctuary, and with the soybean fields nearby, he had grown fat and slick," Chris explained.
The buck weighed a whopping 265 pounds. Wildlife officials estimated that the old monarch was at least 6€‚1/2 years old, possibly older.
The indescribable non-typical rack sported 31 points. A measurer at Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop, Louisiana, which runs one of the nation's most prestigious annual big buck contests, green-scored the rack at a whopping 249 7/8. Because of the
conglomeration of non-typical points, this rack will no doubt be very difficult to score officially when the time comes. Whatever the final score turns out to be, however, this is certainly a buck of a lifetime in anyone's book!
And pending final approval, Green Campbell's buck is almost certain to be a new Louisiana state-record non-typical taken with blackpowder. Currently sitting atop the heap is a non-typical taken with a muzzleloader in 2001 by William Jordan that scored 198€‚4/8.
Chris Campbell summed it up nicely when he commented, "Green and I know how very blessed we are to have experienced this time together as a family of hunters. We are happy that the buck scored so well, but we really just feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude that we were the chosen ones who got the chance to experience hunting such a magnificent animal."