Cumberland kills massive 11-point buck
By By Mike Giles
Dec. 21, 2001
Mississippi deer hunting just keeps getting better and better. One has to look no further than Meridian's own Johnny Cumberland to verify that. Cumberland and hunting buddy Brian Bosarge teamed up on a recent hunting trip to the Delta. While both of them are excellent hunters, they weren't prepared for the surprise the trip would bring. Their hunt on a literal whitetail field of dreams rewarded Cumberland with a buck beyond even his wildest dreams. The monster buck weighed an almost unheard of 252 pounds. Its rack sported 11 points and had an incredible 24 and 1/4 inch outside spread with plenty of mass to boot!
During archery season back in the early fall, the pair spent a few days in the woods mainly scouting for the upcoming muzzleloader hunt. During that time, Johnny located a lot of deer sign near one end of a slough. That was to be his hunting area on the first day of the muzzleloader hunt. However, it didn't take long to find out that heavy rains had flooded his hot spot. After regrouping and consulting with Bosarge following the morning hunt, they decided to check out a couple of hot areas that Bosarge had found.
The next morning Cumberland went to the location that Bosarge had shown him and found that a buck had reworked a scrape since the prior morning. It was really hot! The actual area where Cumberland put his Ol' Man climbing stand, was on a corner of a hardwood thicket that was full of thick briars and saplings. In fact, Bosarge had commented to him the previous day, "If there's a good deer around here, that's where he'll be!" Fresh scrapes were found within 10 to 15 yards of the edge of the thicket. As an added enticement, the ground was coated with succulent acorns.
From his tree stand vantage point, Cumberland watched the edge of the thicket and a lane that went down one side of it as well. At about 6:45 a.m. he saw his first sign of movement. It turned out to be a large contingent of wild hogs that crossed the lane about 150 yards from his stand, on their way into the thicket. Shortly thereafter, about 7a.m., a doe came tearing out of the thicket in a dead run, stopping short of his stand by 20 yards or so, to feed on acorns.
The doe was acting skittish, running back and forth in circles in and out of the thicket. Cumberland suspected she might be in heat and was in hopes that a nice buck might come out hot on her trail. At just about 8 a fine 6-point with a 15-16 inch spread crossed the lane into the thicket as well. Cumberland would let this potential trophy live for another day. He was convinced that there were bigger and better things around. And was he ever rewarded for his patience!
Action heats up
As the morning kept progressing, deer activity picked up. Around 8:30 another doe came by on its way into the thicket as well. About 30 minutes later, Cumberland heard a deer splashing and walking through the water in the thicket. At first sight of the deer he knew instantly that it was a shooter, as it made its way up onto an old levee at about 70 yards. At that point, the deer took off and started loping towards the open lane. Cumberland quit looking at the deer's rack and started looking for a spot to shoot.
As the buck hit the lane at 36 yards, Cumberland let out a loud bleat and the buck locked up. Almost instantly he settled the crosshairs on the old monarch and squeezed the trigger. At the sound of the report, the buck flinched and took off running out of sight after only 50 yards or so. Cumberland never heard the deer fall, or crash into things as a wounded deer might tend to do.
In summary Cumberland stated, "I was just in the right place at the right time! Im not any better hunter now than I was before killing the buck." It's a sure bet however, that he was a pretty fair hunter to begin with!