Opening day of deer season is a special thing here in Texas. It’s a day that we all wait for year after year. This particular year, opening day started out gloomy, but ended up being one of my most memorable.
It all started with a phone call when my brother Steven and I arrived at our deer lease in Brady, Texas. The call was from our good friends and hunting partners, Steven, Luke, and Angel Marksberry. They were on their way to the lease when Steven became seriously ill. They called to say that they would not be able to make the rest of the trip that night and would have to miss opening morning.
Their son Luke has become a die-hard deer hunter, and was devastated that he would miss the day that had consumed our every thought for the past several months. We decided that Angel would bring him into camp, and he would hunt with me until his family could arrive. Luke arrived in camp late that night and we fell asleep, only to awake four hours later. We got up and prepared for the first hunt of the season.
Luke and I headed to the Marksberry blind, where he and his father usually hunt. We arrived and settled in for our hunt. About five minutes later, we saw deer moving around in the darkness. As daylight approached, I noticed a great deer in the opening in front of the blind.
When it finally became light enough to size up the buck, we saw that it was a beautiful mainframe 10-point, with a kicker off each of his back tines. The buck was young, so we decided to let him walk. I could tell by the look on Luke’s face that he thought I was crazy, but he never said anything. About an hour later, after watching some young bucks, and lots of does, I caught movement to my left.
I saw a 3 1/2-year-old buck with an unusual looking rack. The buck had a nice four-point left antler, and a very small three-point one on the right. This was a great buck to take out of the herd.
I whispered to Luke, “I want you to take this buck.” He checked the buck out with his binocular, and was pleased to take a shot at him. I told him to get his rifle up, while I got the video camera ready. The buck made his way out in front of us, feeding at about 100 yards. I asked Luke one more time, “Are you sure you want him?” “Oh yeah!” Luke said.
Right before Luke took the shot, the buck bolted after a doe. I told him to be patient because he would return. Mere seconds later, the buck made his way back. He turned broadside and I told Luke to shoot whenever he was ready. One shot from Luke’s trusty .243 dropped the buck in his tracks.
Luke was so excited. I captured the entire moment on video, and we went and recovered the buck. After several minutes of celebration, we got the deer ready for photos. We took several photos, and then headed to camp to make the phone calls. He called his family, and they were all very proud of him.
Luke’s family arrived shortly after we brought the buck to camp. We took several photos of him with his family and then headed to town. That afternoon, his father felt ill again, and was unable to go out for the hunt. I decided to take Luke back to the same blind. As we arrived at the blind, we spooked a small doe. We settled into our ground blind, and the wait began.
About 4:20, the deer began to trickle in. We had a small buck, and three does in front of us. All of a sudden, Luke let out a loud series of sneezes and the deer scattered. We sat there for about an hour without another deer sighting. Just as I began to wonder if we would see anything else, I caught movement. It was a large group of turkeys.
Luke had never taken a turkey, so I asked him if he wanted to take one. He answered with an assertive “YES!” The group of hens made their way out in front of us. I told him to pick one out, and take the shot.
The trusty old rifle again found its mark. We high-fived each other, and went to recover the beautiful bird. We took several pictures, and couldn’t believe the great success he had experienced on the first day. We headed back to camp and told everyone the story time and time again. Luke was so happy, and thanked me a thousand times. He could not believe how he had been blessed on opening day.