Hoffman’s first buck a rare maned whitetail

Don Hoffman is more of a fisherman than a deer hunter, as you might expect from the guy who runs McComb Tackle Box. But when he killed his first buck this past deer season, it was a doozy.

It was not only a fine 10-point, it had a mane — a ridge of black hair along the back of the neck. More like a Mohawk, really.

Hoffman recently got the mount back and hung it on the wall of his store on Highway 51 South in McComb.

“I showed a lot of people here and nobody’s ever seen one,” Hoffman said. “My taxidermist (Jewel Watts) said he’s only seen four in his lifetime.”

Apparently it’s a rare genetic trait, Hoffman said after researching it on the Internet.

He shot the deer at 8:11 a.m. Dec. 30 on his property at Magnolia with a 6.5 Creedmore rifle at 30 yards.

The deer ran off and Hoffman called his son, Dustin, 26, to help find it. Dustin had a doctor appointment coming up but dashed over and helped blood-trail it.

They spotted the deer 15 to 20 yards away lying down with its head up.

“He said, ‘Wait, Dad, don’t do anything. It’s laying on the ground with its head straight up in the air.’ ”

Hoffman wanted to shoot, but Dustin was afraid it would mess up the mount. After awhile they got suspicious when the deer never moved, and Dustin eyed it with a scope.

“He said, ‘Dad, it’s dead,’ ” Hoffman said.

“It had fallen and a twig got caught in its horn and its neck was straight up. It was really funny and a cool experience with my son.”

Dustin helped in other ways, too. When he got back from the doctor he had to skin the deer for his dad because of Hoffman’s carpal tunnel syndrome. He currently has one wrist in a brace after surgery.

“I started skinning. My carpal tunnel kicked in and I couldn’t do it,” Hoffman said.

“I had my best bud with me and that made it better.”

Hoffman, who’s something of a chef, grinds the meat and mixes it half and half with chuck for burger, and with butt roast for sausage.

“That’s my first buck,” he said. “I’ve only shot two deer, and they were both does.”

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