By Jessica Rosenauer
Our family history says that I first went hunting with my dad, Dr. Johnnie Rosenauer, when I was 21 months old. Apparently one December afternoon in 1995, my mom ran us both out of our house in Pleasanton and we ended up in a deer blind south of Charlotte on a place we called Rainbow Ranch. The story goes that dad was rattling and a couple of young bucks came out. He raised me up to the window once they got pretty close and I screamed out, “Daddy it’s bucks!” Dad has always maintained that if they ran for an hour like they left that spot, they would have been out of state!
You might say I was born into hunting in South Texas. From age two on, my dad would often pose me holding the antlers of his trophies because he said it made them look bigger than when he held them. His friends would say he only got published because I was so cute in the pictures that went along with the stories. I am a high school senior this year and I was ready to take another good buck. It was all about my turn!
Last year dad had bought a Model 70 Featherweight in 7mm-08 that I really enjoy. It has a Zeiss 3-9X scope and after it was accurized by Hill Country Rifles, I can really shoot it well. It has lots of power with 140-grain Triple Shock bullets and almost no kick, which I like. We already had a Model 700 in the same caliber that my mom likes to shoot when she goes hunting. We call that one the “sniper rifle” because it has a longer barrel than the Winchester. Both she and dad have taken some pretty good size deer at up to 250 yards with the two guns. Dad likes to say that when his two girls go hunting, he takes a “leftover rifle” to the blind. Poor dad, but he has plenty to pick from.
I had been looking for an old deer we called “Big 10” whose sheds we have from the last two years as well. Dad and my friend Kyle Cunningham let him walk several times last year. My mom and dad were also after Big 10, but Dad said if we could not find him close to the end of the season, he had another deer for me to consider, one we nicknamed “Wide 9.”
We never did get to see Big 10. But Kyle, along with his two young sons Colton and Ryder, did see him the last day of deer season. They did not take him, but it was nice to know he was still around. Kyle said he has smaller antlers than he did in 2010-11.
I guess that is due to the bad drought this past year. We know it is not too late for him to grow another good set of antlers next year on a protein fed ranch like ours, if Mother Nature cooperates. Dad and Kyle have been on this place for 15 years and take really good care of the deer.
I was sitting at a place named “2nd Blind” on Jan. 7, 2012, with my boyfriend Trevor, and we had not seen much. Trevor started shooting with us last year and took his first doe with me at this same blind a few weeks before. It was fun watching him get all excited. He did not understand about buck fever till that day.
The next trip down to hunt, Trevor and I were in a blind we call “High Blind” and a big hog came out. I just could not get a clear shot. I did discover that buck fever applies to hogs as well, at least for me!
On the 7th, with just a few more minutes of shooting light left, pretty far down a 60-foot wide pipeline, a buck and small doe came out. The doe was a yearling and I guess was just coming into season for the first time. Anyway, the buck was all about her and did not mind when I opened up the blind window and cranked the scope up to full power for a good view. We decided to call this buck Wide 9 because even as a youngster he had wider than usual antlers compared to others in his age class on the ranch.
The rangefinder put him at 260 yards. That would be my longest shot ever. Trevor and I were talking about not letting him get away like the hog, and we may have made some noise, because Wide 9 started heading back to the brush. I put my sandbag on the window frame to use as a steady rest, took a deep breath, and fired just as he was at the edge of the opening. The little doe just stood there a while before walking off. I could not see any sign of the deer, but the sound indicated a solid hit.
We hurried down there, and sure enough, Wide 9 lay just inside the brush line. I had shot him right where the neck and shoulder come together. His antlers are a really nice chocolate color and his spread measured just under 19 inches inside. He was not nearly as big and fat as my first buck because he was run down pretty bad. He had a smaller body frame and clearly had been taking the breeding season very seriously. But he will look good on my wall beside my other buck. I am happy that it was my turn again!