115 Year old Louisiana Whitetail record preserved at long last
(Photo: Bastrop Enterprise)
Have you ever walked into an old hunting camp and seen on the walls mounts that were quote the sight to behold? This happens to many hunters as they stand in the same space as great hunters before them, taking in a visual of the accomplishments and trophies of those hunters. You never know what type of trophy from the past may reach out and capture your attention in the present. After all, those deer were mounted not just for bragging rights but also to give future hunters something to which they can aspire.
The thing about history when it comes to mounts such as this is that it is often lost. If we do not take the time to record the stats on the deer harvested and mounted as well as the hunter’s name, that information can be lost forever. Word of mouth is unreliable as people forget or mispronounce names and the details become distorted. If you ever played a game in elementary where a secret is whispered from down a line of 20 or so kids, you will have seen how the secret changes as it is repeated. This is why having a well-documented history is beneficial to keep memories straight and give credit where it is due before the account of a hunter and his trophy is forgotten forever.
An example of a hunting experience and the resulting mount is one that occurred in Morehouse Parish in the ‘Sportsman’s Paradise’ state of Louisiana as reported by the Bastrop Enterprise. A 34 year old man by the name of Joe Sam Rolfe was attending a campout when he was faced with a large buck. The deer fled but Rolfe had a .38 handgun on him and took the only shot he could get, which happened to be right at the haunches of the retreating animal. As luck would have it, the shot was effective and the deer was harvested successfully.
Though the story of this hunter and his buck from northeast Louisiana have lived on, it is in large part due to the impressive tale as well as the fact that family has retained the animal’s antlers, keeping the story intact from close to the source. That source is Joe Sam Rolfe’s grandson, Joe Cooper Rolfe. Though Joe Cooper Rolfe was born after Joe Sam Rolfe had died, he still saw fit to preserve his grandfather’s hunting legacy. The antlers had remained in the family since his grandfather’s passing, and over time made their way into Joe Cooper Rolfe’s hands. Once in possession of the antlers, he took them to Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Robert Barham, requesting that he score them. After an unofficial score indicated something special, Barham suggested an official score be done. From that day to the present was roughly 45 years, but as luck would have it, it still was not too late.
Recently Joe Cooper Rolfe handed over the antlers to Robert Barham for an official score. This was done at the hands of official scorer and deer study leader Scott Durham and the result was a score of 172 4/8 for the 10-point rack. When all was said and done, Joe Sam Rolfe’s Louisiana buck sits in 23rd place on the all -time Boone and Crockett list for typical whitetails. It only took 115 years for Joe Same Rolfe to get his rightful spot, but now that his name has been permanently recorded, his story will live on as it should.
If you ever find yourself lucky enough to spend some time in Louisiana, be sure some of it is in the woods. The state has produced several impressive bucks in recent years and it is possible that the next one can be your own. Whether it is hunting in marshlands or on drier ground you prefer, Louisiana offers a terrain for every taste.
So head on down south, have a beignet, and enjoy some of the best deer hunting in the south.