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September / October 2014

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Online Articles

Birthday Treat

by Teresa Hodge | Jan 07, 2014

Since my husband introduced me to hunting, I have marveled at the sheer excitement that goes along with it. My husband and I moved from the Lindale area in 2006 and now live on a 250-acre farm in Mills County where I am presented with many hunting opportunities. We have three feeders located on the farm and feed the deer all year long. I’ve been hunting our farm for about 6 years and have managed to take many whitetail does. But I’m not opposed to taking bucks.
Thanksgiving week is the start of the rut in our area of Texas. I was so grateful to get off from work that week and looked forward to hunting in my stand. The weather had been fairly mild.  I decided to hunt on Thanksgiving Day (2012) and was so excited that sleeping the night before was nearly impossible.
When the alarm awakened me I eagerly began the hunter ritual of a scent-free shower and wearing hunting clothing washed in scent-free laundry soap. Once this process was completed, out the back door I went. Getting to my stand is easy—it’s just down the hill from our house. Only using a tiny flashlight to guide me I softly ambled to my stand.
I don't have a fancy stand, just one of sheet metal without windows or a door. My feeder is 75 yards or so from my stand that sits close to a tank the cattle visit. The stars were brilliant and the moon was dim that morning. Normally it's extremely windy on our hill, but not that morning. Hardly a breeze blew with hardly a sound except that of a hoot owl in a nearby tree. I settled down and checked my watch—5:45 a.m. Perfect timing I thought as I made it a point to be in my stand seated at least one hour before the feeder went off. The temperature that morning was 56 degrees and a far cry from normal for that time of the year.
I hunted with my trusty .243 rifle with a new scope that my husband recently added. Sitting in a deer stand waiting for light of day is one of great anticipation, as well as lengthy. My eyes gradually adjusted to the darkness and as daylight crept in, mine have played all kinds of tricks on me. I have been very fortunate to maintain good hearing through my 59 years, and that morning was no exception. I had sat still for what seemed like eternity when I heard a small twig break then gentle steps. I just knew it was a deer, as I had heard that sound so many times before. I was hoping for one of several big does that frequented my feeder. There had been a huge buck sighted several times on the place, and in fact, I had missed him once when he came to our south feeder. Not only did I miss the largest buck I had ever seen, I felt stupid telling my husband about it.
Light of day moved in and now I could clearly see my feeder. No deer yet, but once again heard a slipping of hooves to my left. The woods grew silent and all I could do was wait. I finally focused on the feeder seeing several doves feasting on the corn left on the ground by the deer.
A rabbit scurried around and the birds began singing their morning songs of praise. Looking at my watch it was still a few minutes before the feeder went off, so I knew the does were laying back. The rain-of-corn sound brings them in rather quickly when they don't fear humans. Suddenly while being lost in thought I was yanked to reality to the sound of the feeder raining corn on the ground.
All of a sudden I caught movement from my right! Turning my head ever so slowly, there he stood! A rush of excitement flooded my body. Now it was evident that the does I heard to my left hesitated to come to the feeder because the buck was dogging them.
He came in with his nose to the ground. I only needed him to come past the feeder and stop to make a good shot. Just as he got in front of the feeder he stopped to eat corn. “Come on big boy,” I thought. “Just a little more to the left.” When he took just enough steps I put the crosshairs right on his vitals and fired!
That buck dropped right in his tracks and I began to tremble with excitement. Grabbing my radio, hands shaking like crazy, I told my husband, "Buck down!"
"I'll be right there," he said excitedly. When he pulled up, he began examining the rack. "Well, he's legal for sure," and I felt relieved. He also commented on how large his body mass was. Trying to load my deer was comical because in the process of helping my husband lift the buck, I dropped him. With great determination my second attempt was successful. We took my buck to a friend’s house to field dress it.
I decided to have a shoulder mount done, thinking that would give a clue to his size. I couldn't wait to get my prize mount back, and this being only November, I was told I would wait a few months. My birthday is April 29th, which fell on a Monday. My husband received a call the Sunday before from our friend Larry saying my buck mount was ready. What a birthday gift!
By the way—my shoulder mount buck sure looks good on the wall in front of my recliner!

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