“It’s big.”

Those two words, uttered by Chad Grant, are really a complete description of the monster Navarro County buck taken by Carroll Moran on Thanksgiving afternoon.

Moran was hunting on a unseasonably warm afternoon, convinced he was wasting his time due to the temperature. He had just sent an e-mail to Grant on his Blackberry, asking about the Dallas Cowboys game and complaining about the heat. A little over a half-hour later, he had killed a buck of mythical proportions, the biggest whitetail of his life.

The massive buck, which Moran and his hunting companions estimate to be between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 years old, scored 186 Boone and Crockett points unofficially. He had 18 scoreable points, one point too short to score, and one large point broken off, most likely in a romantic dispute with another buck. His two drop tines measured about nine inches each. He weighed 138 pounds.

“I was at home wanting to take a nap,” Moran said. “Darrell Cobb called and said, ‘Let’s go hunting.’ It was too hot and I didn’t want to go. Now I’m glad I did.

“Darrell and I had gone rattling and banging down through the ranch a little while earlier with two deer stands on a trailer, making all kinds of noise. I got to my stand and had been sitting there awhile and had only seen one young buck. We were talking back and forth on the radios when I saw him come out towards the feeder. He ran out, turned around and went back out of sight, so I grunted at him. I grabbed my gun, he came back out, stopped, turned and looked at my stand. I saw those drop tines and didn’t even have time to get nervous before I shot him. It happened so fast.

“He is the best deer I’ve ever killed, or seen, in the wild.”

Moran harvested the river-bottom giant on his 3,000-acre Chatfield ranch, which is ironic, considering he has hunted all over the United States and Canada. He has been on safari in Africa twice, hunted birds in South America, and fished in Brazil. He also raises whitetails in a high fence on his ranch near Roane. The ranch where the big buck spent his last days is a low-fence property.

“I’ve never raised a deer this good,” Moran said.

Moran said the rutting buck was trailing a doe when he came out. Moran was using a Remington .270 and guessed the shot at about 120 yards. The large nontypical measured 17 5/8 inches between the antlers.

“I raise whitetails as a hobby — I love to watch them. I don’t sell hunts or breed deer to sell,” Moran said. “I like to get my coffee in the morning and ride down through the ranch and watch the deer.”

Moran said he and Cobb had seen the buck on the previous Sunday, and his rack was so big he first thought he had a limb stuck in his antlers. He had also heard about a big buck with drop tines running in the Trinity River bottom from his neighbors and figured this had to be the same deer.

“I called John Matous, one of the guys I hunt with, and asked him if he was hunting this afternoon. He said no, so I decided to hunt from his stand,” Moran said.

When asked if he was upset about the huge buck being killed from his stand, Matous laughed good-naturedly. “I was just glad he was killed on our place,” he said. “That’s what I get for eating too much turkey and staying home to watch the Cowboys game.”

“Carroll was pretty excited — the shot hadn’t quit ringing and he was hollering on the radio that he had shot the drop-tine buck,” Cobb recalled. “My stand was about a quarter-mile away from his, and when I came out of my stand, I could hear him yelling on the phone. He was talking pretty loud.

“When I got over there and saw the deer, I wished I was him (Moran),” Cobb joked. “But really, I was glad Carroll got to take such a good buck right there on his own place.”

“There are a lot of really good deer in Navarro County,” Moran said. “There would be a lot more if people would lay off the trigger and let some of the younger bucks go. I know how it sounds for me to say that after killing a 3 1/2- or 4 1/2-year-old deer, but nobody would have passed on a deer like this. He is exceptional.

“I am really lucky to have been blessed like I have,” Moran said. “To have a place like this, where my friends and family can hunt, and it’s only 15 minutes from my house. I have really been blessed.”

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