Young Mississippi hunter’s first buck racks up 145 inches

Published 6:03 am Sunday, November 28, 2021

A young Mississippi hunter had his sights set on harvesting his first buck this season, but a missed shot with a crossbow seemed to be a huge setback. However, prayer, perseverance and his dad’s guidance paid off with a 145-inch trophy.

“He was super upset,” Jonathan Rineheart of Brandon said about his 10-year-old son, Carson. “He just couldn’t handle it. He’d hunted so hard and he missed.”

Carson has harvested deer before. He took a doe at 6 and another at 7, but seemed to lose interest in hunting after that.

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That changed this past summer. For some unknown reason, Carson became focused on harvesting his first buck.

“That’s all he talked about,” Rineheart said. “It was a complete change. We don’t know what changed, but he was determined to kill a buck this year.”

The buck he missed was a solid 8-point, but wasn’t the buck Carson was initially hoping to harvest. Rineheart said Carson’s target buck, named Carson’s Buck, was a 12-point with a drop-tine that was appearing on camera.

“It was about the middle of September that I started getting pictures of him in velvet,” Rineheart said. “I knew he was a good deer.”

Even so, he didn’t appear to have an unusually large rack.

“It was one of those things,” Rineheart said. “When I was looking at him, he just didn’t seem that big.”


Rineheart set up a ground blind in the area the buck was frequenting, but when archery season started on Oct. 1, the Rineheart’s schedule and the buck’s schedule never seemed to match.

“He’d be out in the week at 7 o’clock in the morning,” Rineheart said. “We’d show up on the weekends and he’d show up at 3 o’clock in the morning.”

To make the situation less hopeful, pictures of Carson’s Buck all but stopped coming. Rineheart decided to change gears Oct. 30 and hunt at his go-to spot, the Combine Stand. Not surprisingly, it’s located by an old combine.

That was also the day he missed the 8-point.

“He took it hard,” Rineheart said. “We’re a religious family. He prayed about it. When I say he prayed about it, he prayed before every meal and at night.”

The following day, Carson saw the 8-point again, but it was far out of range for his crossbow.

On Nov. 6, opening day of youth season, Carson was back at the Combine Stand, but this time, he was using a rifle. The 8-point appeared again, but it was too early to shoot.

The buck walked out of sight, but Rineheart guessed it would circle back around as he’d seen others do.


“About 30 minutes later I heard something heavy walking in the woods behind me and caught a glimpse of a deer on the edge of the field, but I couldn’t tell what it was,” Rineheart said. “I told Carson there was a deer to the right, but it had gone back in the woods again. About five minutes later I turned to the right and I immediately recognized the buck that was standing out in the field.”

It was Carson’s Buck. The buck was 166 yards away. Rineheart said he did not intend to allow Carson shoot more than 150 yards, but figured 16 additional yards wasn’t going to make a difference. Rineheart said he grunted at the buck twice to make him stop, with no success. He grunted a third time, much louder, and the buck stopped.

Carson didn’t miss this time.

“Even though I had gotten hundreds of pictures of this deer, we had no idea what we were about to look at,” Rineheart said. “He was way bigger in person.”

And there was no controlling their excitement.

“He was screaming,” Rineheart said. “If he counted those points once, he counted them 100 times.”

The main beams were 22⅝ inches with G2s measuring 10⅛ inches and 11⅛ inches and a 15½-inch spread. The total gross score was 145⅝ and it weighed 240 pounds.

“The deer was so much bigger than I imagined,” Rineheart said. “It was kind of surreal seeing him kill the deer and his reaction to the deer.”

Despite the excitement, a deer like that warranted words of advice for Carson.

“Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see a buck like that for a long time,” Rineheart told his son. “People wait their whole lives to kill a deer like that.”