Last weekend’s break from hunting was much needed for both Phillip and I. So I was ready to put my game face on for a very chilly Halloween weekend. I packed on the CLOTHES thick!! We pulled out from the house at Saturday morning at 5:45am. Had about a 30-45 minute drive. I was getting things ready in my backpack as we drove down the interstate to Twiggs County. I suddenly realized that I didn’t grab my snake boots and Phillip didn’t pick them up either. I know I probably didn’t need them with this cold weather, but last time I “almost didn’t wear” them was in 2008 when I had a personal encounter with a 5ft Timber Rattler. AND not to mention it happened on the way to the same stand I was gonna hunt that morning! I figured I would be ok in my rubber boots for a cold morning hunt. Another 5 minutes goes by and realize I left my cell phone at the house too! The morning was NOT starting off right at all! We finally got to the huntin club. I sure was craving some hot, yummy coffee…but we all know what will happen if I drink that! So I had to pass on the fluids for the morning. Phillip let me borrow his cell phone and he used his work phone. We geared up and pinned in our spots on the map. Phillip went to the stand he killed his big 9pt buck out of last year and I went back to the INFAMOUS “P” stand! (“P”= pee….don’t ask! LOL) This is the stand I hunted religiously last year. But also the same stand I mentioned above where I killed my snake in ’08; the same stand I had a granddaddy long leg crawl down my face; a squirrel almost land in my lap; a funky spike walk right underneath me; , and many more great moments I won’t have time to mention. The stand is in a great spot! It’s right in the middle of white oaks; clear cut to the left; pines to the right. It’s a really long walk from camp, but it’s always worth it.
I haven’t hunted this stand this year yet, but I was ready to get back to a familiar place. I made really good timing getting to the stand. Phillip hunted it the night before and told me he had a young 8 point buck sneak up behind him. The buck came in and was smelling the CODE BLUE scent lure that Phillip dragged in. But Phillip let him walk because he looked a little too young for him to shoot. Not to mention our club rule: “You shoot him, you mount him!” So I remembered his story about the buck as I climbed up the tree. I took my time getting in a secured position. I felt like I was in an astronaut suite! It was cold and I didn’t want to rush myself. I strapped my safety harness to the tree, hung my back pack up, and took a deep breath as I sat down and lowered the shooting rail over my head. I took my buck grunt out and maneuvered it over the clothes on my left arm. This was my only choice since this grunt didn’t come with a neck string. I didn’t know what to do with it and I knew I would need it. The elastic band came in handy. I then placed my gun in my lap and propped the barrel on the rail for a quick and easy aim. I got everything settled in. I took a deep breath and slipped my neck gator up over my mouth. I was very warm and was looking forward to a great morning. I rest my head back and gazed up at the stars. I see an airplane and watch its lights flicker. It was beautiful. The stars are prettier than diamonds. But day was breaking.
About 10 minutes after daylight, I lost patience. I picked up my left arm and blew in the buck grunt a few times. I really wanted to see if I could draw in that 8 point that Phillip saw the night before. I laid my arm back down in my lap and waited. The squirrels were rustling in the leaves and birds were looking for breakfast. I was really hoping nothing would sneak in behind me. I guess it was about 20 minutes later when I hear something in the pines to my right. It was about my one o’clock position. I watched intently. Something is walking in the pine straw and some limbs popped. I focus harder. Then…I see brown fur through the trees!! I slowly rest my arms down off the rail and put my hands on my gun. I watch and wait. It takes a few more steps but I couldn’t see anything. It was making its way in the pines and getting closer. I waited some more. I see brown fur step out from the pines and cross the foot path (still at my one o’clock). I saw something white! And NO not his tail….yep --- antlers! I didn’t even see how many. I just KNEW this was that 8 point buck Phillip saw. The buck sniffs on some bushes where Phillip had that CODE BLUE. I am now shaking and breathing heavier….I gripped my gun tighter and kept my eye on him hard. I slowly lifted my gun up to get ready. He would stop and look in my direction…but I think he was looking past me on ground level. He sniffed some more and was looking around. He was behind several bushes and a big oak tree. I lifted my gun up some more to get it level. He is now at my twelve o’clock. His head peeps out behind the tree. I see antlers. I don’t know how many! I didn’t care! He was a big deer and I wanted him! He looked up again to scope the area. He looks my way again and I froze! I was shaking worse and I could NOT get any air in my lungs! I kept taking deep breaths but I swear I couldn’t breathe! I stayed still….he looked my way again. He finally lowered his head. He decided what he wanted wasn’t there and turned around. My heart sank as he started to walk back the way he came. But I wasn’t giving up! My IMMEDIATE thought was “Nuh-uh! You aint getting away from me!” I picked my left arm up and blew in the grunt twice. My hand quickly found my gun as I watched him slowly walk around some bushes and a few trees. I placed my gun on the rail and secured it in my right shoulder. I lowered my head and made sure I wasn’t too close to the scope. I look up again and I now have a clear view of his head and body. I rest my cheek on the stock and keep both eyes open to watch him. He stops and lowers his head behind a tree….leaving enough left shoulder and the rest of his body for me to shoot. I’m shaking and my heart beat is the loudest thing I could hear. As soon as he stopped behind that tree, I didn’t hesitate. My cheek was already on the stock and I closed my left eye. I put the crosshairs on him. I squeezed the trigger and let him have a bullet from my .270! He kicks his back legs and white tail goes up! He runs off! I tried to reload but my gun was stuck. I look up and listen. I heard him running, then it got quiet. THEN, I heard a loud crash! I squeezed my fists and looked up and said “THANK YOU JESUS! Lord I hope I didn’t miss him!” And I almost cried of excitement! I knew I had him! But I was nervous I missed. So I sat there in disbelief for a minute or two. I txt Phillip’s work phone: “I shot him! God I hope I didn’t miss!” Our texts continued for the next 5 minutes. It was 7:45am when I shot him. I called my mom and woke her up in the bed and whispered “HEY! I just shot a buck!” We talked for a few minutes and I told her the story! I hung up with her and Phillip wanted me to get down and look for blood. It had been 20-30 minutes, so I figured it would be safe to go look. I left my back pack in the tree, reloaded my gun, and climbed down. I was so excited! My feet touched the ground and I was pumped! I walked down to where I thought I shot him. I couldn’t find any blood! There’s a creek that wraps around and my heart sunk again. I sure hope he didn’t cross that creek ditch. I kept walking back around the edge of white oaks and pine trees. There was an evident path to the right. I kept my eyes peeled. I was feeling sick to my stomach. No blood. I walked 40 yards. I looked up and there were some briars right in front of me. I had a feeling. That wasn’t the path I needed to take. So I stepped to the right to go around it. I looked down as I watched my step……BLOOD! We got blood! I text Phillip to let him know. I followed a decent trail of blood drops that led me into the pines. I walked another 20 yards. I look up and find this small green bush splattered with blood! My eyes got as big as pancakes! I stared at it forever! I think I even squealed! I stopped and went back the way I came. Phillip said he was on the way and wanted me to meet him. So I went back to my stand and got my back pack down. I took off some layers and set everything, but my gun, there by a pine tree. I took my camera out of my back pack and had it ready. I walked back towards camp and met Phillip. We walked back down the trail to my stand as I told him my story! He kept asking questions and I was just too excited to answer! We got to the stand and I re-enacted everything for him. I handed him the camera to hold. I had another bullet chambered just in case we jumped in. I took Phillip back to where I found blood and showed him what it led me too. After he saw the splattered blood on the bush, he noticed a blanket of pine straw right behind it that was kicked up and turned over. It led us to more blood. We walked another 10 yards. Phillip was in front of me looking on the ground. We followed the blood through the pines. It was gorgeous in there! Phillip was watching the ground. So I looked up and took a quick survey around us. I see him! I whispered a shout “PHILLIP! PHILLIP! THERE HE IS!” I point to the left another 5 yards away! There he was lying on the ground! Phillip turned around and we hugged with excitement! SMOOCHES and HUGS! We practically ran to him and I had no idea he was as big as he was. He was HUGE to me! We high-fived as I grabbed a set of 9 points! He was beautiful! He had a big neck and body! He weighed about 200lbs. We were both tickled pink! We snapped a couple of pictures right there where I found him! We were stunned! Phillip confirmed that this buck is NOT the 8 point buck he saw the night before. It was definitely two different deer and I shot the bigger one! The entry wound was further back than where I wanted it. It’s in his mid section. It blew through his ribs, blew out a lung, and came out right in front of his right shoulder! The bullet didn’t get any guts! So the shot was better than we thought! Our celebration began as we headed back to camp for the four-wheeler. We watched the taxidermist (Travis) cape him out and clean everything out of him. I was in amazement and was right there next to him while he was cleaning him up. I touched his wind pipe and his heart. Saw his blown up lung. And got more educated about deer parts as Travis cut away. I was so intrigued (and HAPPY)!!! He will be shoulder mounted and proudly displayed in our living room with Phillip’s buck! I can’t wait! It was a great morning and I thank God for these moments and for allowing us to enjoy the time in the woods. Hard hunting pays off and makes up for all the bad days! Last time I shot a buck was a small 6 point back in 2007. I KNEW I would see something better sooner or later out of my “P” stand! What a great Halloween treat!!!