By Jane Hale The last morning of the deer season – the first year for me to be on a South Texas lease— I realized patience, prayer, and practice pays off. I have always considered myself a fortunate hunter, as far as seeing a lot of animals, and this year was no exception. In fact, I have never seen so many beautiful bucks in all my life. Reflecting back, my first hunt of the 1999-2000 season was breathtaking. A buck with a beautiful rack came out of the densely covered terrain and stood broadside at my stand 10-15 yards away from me. At full draw, I decided not to take the shot. I surprised myself after going over the size of his rack in my mind. I probably will never forget him. What amazed me the most were his brow tines, approximately 8 to 9-inches tall with a rack of equal proportion that I can only describe as majestic. The morning of Jan. 15, 2000, a 10-point buck approached my feeder along with a nice eight or nine-point buck. Earlier that morning I saw a buck that I had seen previously in the season, but unfortunately the rutting season had taken a serious toll on him. What once was a rack that he proudly displayed was now considerably altered. One side of his rack was completely missing, but he still stood proud with his one sided rack extending somewhat beyond his ears in the midst of a harem of does. Out came this 10-pointer shortly after, which proudly displayed his dominance even though he had a tip of his main beam broken due to fighting. He was under my feeder and because deer season was almost over – he started to look really grand. He faced me so I cautiously lifted my camera to film him and to later evaluate his maturity. He looked to his right and started to back away, but never moving out of my sight. Then I realized what startled him. A huge golden coyote passed by on my left. The buck never took his eyes off the coyote, and stood with his white tail all fluffed. The coyote, as if he never realized the deer’s presence, kept right on going. The deer settled down and begun circling the feeder. He stopped approximately 15 yards in front of my stand. I decided to take a shot. It was just too perfect. A startled buck, calming down and frolicking in the midst of a couple of does and then deciding to pose right in front of me? Lucky for him I guess, and me, my bow made a little squeaking sound and off he went, posing long enough for me to record him again, this time from his backside. Looking at the video, he was a young deer and would be much better if he matured a couple of years. Down to the last morning, there stood my old faithful buck with the one-sided rack. Remembering how beautiful he was with a full rack, he was almost tempting, but of course not. There is always next year, but fortunately patience paid off. From my right side came a huge buck I had never seen before. Wow, what a rack! Was he a 10-11 or 12-point? He passed by swiftly enough and was out of my view. Did he vanish forever? It was just me and old faithful. It was like we were old friends. Not more than five minutes passed and there appeared the majestic buck, going around the backside of my feeder and then disappeared. The next time I saw him, he was approaching from my left. He was acting as if he were more comfortable in his new surroundings. But still, he was very cautious. He came closer—30 yards, 25 yards, 22 yards, 21 yards, 20 yards—and stood right in front of my stand. Could I do it – pull my bow back –without making a sound? I stopped breathing. I raised my bow cautiously and pulled back ever so slowly using every ounce of strength in my body. Slowing pulling back, I was half drawn. “You can do it,” I told myself. I was in full draw – still undetected by the magnificent buck that stood before me. I adjusted myself to make a perfect shot. I stopped a second to pray. “Please Lord, I got him in my sights.” I stopped concentrating on the magnificence of the animal that stood before me, but focused in on one primary target. I released the arrow. The arrow entered behind the front shoulder into the lower half of the deer – a perfect shot. He ran to the edge of the woods and stopped. I could see him no longer. I never took my eyes off the spot where he disappeared, memorizing the location. Then I waited and said more prayers. “Please God, let me have made the perfect shot.” Finally my husband appeared. Yes, I was excited. The anticipation was almost too overwhelming. Thinking we were probably going to have to track the deer, I pointed out exactly where I shot the deer and the last place I saw him. Briskly, we walked 50 yards where I last saw him and he was there—yes, right there. Where he stopped, where I last saw him was where he lay. The video camera and the picture taking began. What excitement!