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My Hunt for Cripple Foot - May, 2010

by Sophia Berry |

My deer hunt started months before I killed the buck we’d call “Cripple Foot.” I asked my dad if he had seen a buck with 16 points that I could shoot this year. I wanted a buck with antlers over 15 points because one of my friends had killed a 15-point.

One day in November, Dad said he might have seen a deer for me to hunt, but there was one problem; he had 18 to 20 points. I told him that was no problem. Dad said we called him Cripple Foot because he was injured years ago in a fight and has favored his right foot ever since. Dad said he was very old now. He always had a 10-point rack, but with old age he had added kickers to his tines, giving him a lot more points.

We first tried to hunt Cripple Foot from a blind, but had no luck. We hunted from the blind about four or five times. It seems he did not like the corn we put out. We saw some other bucks, but my dad said I should be patient and keep hunting for Cripple Foot. So, I passed on buck after buck after buck.

On the day I shot my deer, I got up early, about 5:30 or so, and got dressed in my camo shirt over my brown long sleeved shirt with my jeans and boots. When I got downstairs I met Dad by the front door and Mom handed me my jacket and said, “Good luck,” as she hugged me goodbye. Dad and I got in his truck and headed off. We picked up breakfast on the way to our ranch.

It was cold and drizzling and my dad said it was a good day to find Cripple Foot. My dad said that we would be hunting out of the truck. I really prefer to hunt out of a blind. When I killed my first buck two years ago, we hunted out of a blind. It was easier to rest the gun on the window and the deer are not scared, which gives you more time for the shot. My first buck was a 291⁄2-inch nine-point. Dad said Cripple Foot would be even bigger.

When we got there we met up with Mr. Hubbard and his son Colton. While Mr. Hubbard and Dad got the corn feeder ready for our hunt, Colton and I talked about school, because we go to the same one. When my dad was ready, he showed me how to shoot a gun out of a truck because I had never done that before. I would be shooting a .243 Winchester.

This was the same gun I shot my first deer with two years before. I borrowed it from Dad’s friend, Mr. Ward. The stock had been cut off with a hacksaw and there was a soft pad on the butt of the gun. I felt comfortable with it and was ready to go hunting. Dad showed me how to place the gun on the mirror of the door and then we were ready.

I had shot this .243 only one time before, when I killed the wide nine-point when I was 9 years old. All of my other shooting was with a pellet gun and one of Dad’s .22 rifles.

We went into the pasture and started looking for Cripple Foot. My dad gave us a description of a buck that was with Cripple Foot and some does the evening before. Colton spotted that buck and then we saw the does. We parked the truck and waited for Cripple Foot to show himself. And he did.

When the big buck got close enough, I looked in the scope and my dad asked me, “Can you see anything?” I said, “I can see the white spot on his neck.” Then he told me to shoot. When I did, I blinked and my dad shut his eyes. When the gun smoke cleared, I saw that Cripple Foot had disappeared. As my dad opened his eyes, he said, “Did you get him?” Mr. Hubbard, Colton, and I laughed and said he was down and then they all congratulated me. When I first saw the deer on the ground I could not believe my eyes. My dad said he was much bigger than the 175 inches that he had expected. I didn’t know about that but I quickly counted 18 points and was very excited.

 

After that my dad took some pictures and told me that this deer was 11 years old, just about one month older than me. Then we said goodbye to Mr. Hubbard and Colton and headed home to show Mom the deer. She was so proud of me when she saw Cripple Foot in the back of the truck, but not surprised. She said she knew I could do it.

We then left to find my Mammaw, Laura Berry. She really loves to hunt and had already entered a deer in the Muy Grande Deer Contest that won 2nd place overall. She was so happy for me and kept hugging me and congratulated me for getting such a big buck. She had signed me up earlier in the year for the Muy Grande and made sure we were heading to Freer to enter my deer.

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