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Once In A Lifetime Deer - March, 2010

by Christy Wilkinson |

My family has recently leased some land in Houston County. It’s a little over 400 acres of open terrain (not high-fence) with four ponds and a lodge. The land had not been hunted in over five years. Prior to that, we spent seven years hunting on several leases in Mason County. During those years, I have had the opportunity to kill a couple nice bucks. But, on Nov. 8, 2009, I had the opportunity to shoot the largest buck I have ever seen in my life. You know, everyone talks about the big bucks in West Texas, but I think I beg to differ on that one. This is where my story begins.

You see, we are all trophy hunters and we believe in managing deer in a manner that will allow them to mature nicely. Since it’s a family lease, you can hunt anywhere that you want. On that particular day, I chose our tripod that sits on a hill next to two ponds. It was a rare choice for me because I have a lock-on that I love and almost always hunt it. We all knew that there were some really nice deer roaming the area because we had some really nice pictures on camera. But until you see them up close, you have no idea what to expect.

Sitting in my tripod, looking out across the field, the beauty of the trees and pastures, the sunrise, and the wildlife waking up all around me had consumed me. It was a gorgeous Sunday morning—life was fabulous! Within minutes, I had five does at my feeder. Not long after, a nice young eight-point passed the feeder and crossed the field in front of me. Lo and behold, a second eight-point came out of the tree line about 250 yards out, and I contemplated shooting him. I just couldn’t pull the trigger, though, because I wasn’t sure that he was any bigger than the 10-point that is hanging on my wall. I decided that he needed to live another year or so, and I let him walk. After texting my husband, he assured me that I had done the right thing by letting him walk. Then I saw the most unbelievable eight-point I have ever seen. He was chasing a doe and most definitely on a mission.

I could not believe my eyes. He topped the hill and I immediately put my sights on him. I was shaking like crazy, sweat beading off my head, praying that he would stop running so I could get a good shot. Fortunately for me, the doe came to a halt. The buck stopped about 10 yards behind her. He turned broadside with his nose stretched out tall and proud which allowed me the opportunity to shoot. From 120 yards out, I took the shot. He walked five steps and fell to the ground. I was shaking and jerking so badly that I couldn’t even send the text to my husband that I had just shot “The One.”

Within three minutes, my husband Brian pulled up in the Ranger. When we walked over to the deer I couldn’t believe my eyes. The mass and symmetry on this buck were amazing. He was truly the most beautiful animal I have ever seen. Needless to say, my husband, my dad, and my brother, who all got out of their stands and lock-ons once they heard me shoot, were hooting and hollering, and high-fiving with excitement. In fact, my dad almost cried. I’m sure the neighboring hunters did not appreciate it, but we were most definitely caught up in the moment.

 

When we took the deer back to the lodge, we all made several toasts. We spent the entire day admiring the buck. And my husband, who was supposed to hunt the evening hunt as well, made the decision to load him up and bring him home so we could get him to the taxidermist as soon as possible. It gross scored 1643⁄8  and net scored 1583⁄8. As I write this the day after, I’m still gloating and smiling from ear to ear. I have sent his picture to everyone that I know and I still get chills when I look at him. Truly, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime deer.

You see, hunting is very important to our family. For my husband and me, it’s about family, bringing our girls up in an environment where they can appreciate the outdoors, and enjoying God’s creation. Not only are they just enjoying it, but getting educated about it as well. Our 8-year-old accompanies my husband or me to the stand occasionally, and we are hopeful that she gets her first deer this year. We are about to let our 5-year-old go to the stand as well. They already have a feeder about 150 yards from the lodge that they get up and watch for deer in the mornings and evenings. They sit with their cousin and Gammaw on the balcony of the lodge, drink hot chocolate and watch the deer. They truly love it as much as the adults do!

I still cant believe that I’m writing an article about this amazing deer out of the Pineywoods. It is a dream come true, and I will never forget it. I will also never forget how he looked when he topped that hill. I would give anything to have had it on video!

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