The author with her buck.
A couple years ago, my dad joined a deer lease in Sabine County with a bunch of guys he knows from work. Before he would allow me to hunt, he took me to Mr. Lisenby’s house to learn how to shoot. My dad and Mr. Lisenby worked with me all afternoon. It took a while for me to get used to the rifle.
By the end of the day, I was splitting water bottles right down the middle from 100 yards. My dad told me shooting accurately was easy if taught right the first time. He said the secret was controlled breathing and pressing the trigger rather than pulling it.
A few weeks later my brother, my dad, and I went to the deer lease. My dad and brother spent a couple weeks at the lease in the summer remodeling a 35-year-old school bus that we would use for camping. The old school bus is painted a nasty green, but they built a new deck on the back of it and put in new floors. Thankfully, it has electricity that allows us to heat and cool it. It’s a lot of fun hanging out with my dad and brother in the school bus and by the campfire.
Last year during my first hunt, we sat in the deer stand for about four hours. We didn’t really see many deer that first day. Of course, I didn’t see any because I fell asleep wrapped in a blanket due to the cold weather. The next day, however, we saw a few deer, but I could not bring myself to shoot one.
We went home and came back a few weeks later. When we got up in the deer stand that time, we saw a doe after only about an hour. I didn’t shoot it because I wasn’t comfortable with the rifle. I felt disappointed because I knew it would have been easy.
I’m really glad that wasn’t my first deer, though. I didn’t feel like going back up the lease for a while. But since I hadn’t been up there, I didn’t have a need to practice my shooting.
So, when we got back up to the deer lease the next year, my aim was off and I had forgotten some of the pointers my dad had given me. We went back up right before Thanksgiving. We got there late that night, and got up early the next day and climbed up into the deer stand. We saw nothing that morning.
We ate some deer meat, took a nap, and returned to the deer stand that afternoon. I saw two hogs. I got out my gun and shot at the closest hog. My dad said I had shot right next to it and the bullet had gone in the dirt.
We kept sitting in the stand until my brother Patrick called to say he had shot a bobcat. Then we got out of the stand, and my dad said we should look around where I had shot at the hog. So we did.
There was blood and bone on the ground, a whole trail of it. So we went and got Patrick. We looked for about an hour and a half for the hog in the dark, but never found it. We gave up and went back to camp. I remember thinking, “Well, at least I can go home knowing I shot something and it did not bother me.” My dad and brother sure wanted to find my hog, especially since it was my first kill.
We got up early the next morning and went up in the stand again. We were in there for about two hours looking around, and my dad kept poking me in the shoulder. I looked at him and saw he was freaking out. So I looked out of the deer stand, and there stood a huge eight-point buck.
He was standing in a wide-open lane, eating corn, and standing broadside. Without even thinking, I got my gun out and put it up to my shoulder. I asked my still frantic father if the gun was off safety. It wasn’t, so I had to take it off.
I looked through the scope, and I lined up the crosshairs behind the buck’s front leg. Then I shot. It kicked up its back legs and basically kicked itself in the back of the head. My dad practically flew out and down from the stand. He moves pretty fast for a big man.
The deer had run off before we could get to where I had shot it. We called Patrick and he walked over towards us from his deer stand. My dad and I found the deer as Patrick approached. They pulled it out of the woods.
The deer was a good 30 yards inside. Then they put it in the back of the Mule and we headed back to camp. Everyone congratulated me on its big size. We took a couple of pictures, and then they started to weigh and measure it.
It weighed a little over 185 pounds, scored 143 on the Boone and Crockett scale, and had a 15-inch spread. I’m pretty proud to say that that was my first deer. I didn’t think I could do it, but I watched as my dad and brother caped the deer. My dad was so proud of me and said he was going to get my deer mounted to hang in the living room.
The following week I returned to school from Thanksgiving break. When I showed some of the boys at school a picture of my first kill, they were so jealous. They had been hunting for years and couldn’t believe I had been so lucky. I believe I was lucky to see such big deer that morning, but I was able to shoot it because I practiced.