11 March 2013

The Deer I Killed (?) Got Up and Ran Away After I Shot Him the Second Time!

It was on February 6, 2009 that I wrote an article entitled, GIVING A FALLEN DEER A NAME and placed it on HUNTING HUMOR & TALES. I had shot a nice 10 point buck on a friend’s property near a small town in south Alabama. What I now want to do is to tell ‘the rest of the story’. It was a very cold morning when I arrived at my destination with a strong northwestern wind hitting me without mercy. Since I had not walked to the 14 foot metal ladder stand before, I waited until I could see in the early morning light. I found it without any trouble and settled down and waited for a monster buck to make its appearance. You see, the owner’s son had cameras on trees near the stand and the bucks that enjoyed having their pictures taken were massive in size with large antlers. To my right was a pasture that had grown tall weeds and to my left were planted pine trees. The location was ideal except the freezing, cold weather and a strong wind that was penetrating my clothing and making me feel like an ice cube. I sat there until about nine o’clock and then I got down and begin walking on a small trail in the pines. It was then that I began to ‘jump’ does and not only that; I began to see several scrapes very close together. I knew that there were bucks in the immediate area.

 I soon came near the area where I had entered the pines from an adjacent pasture. I stopped and began looking down to a beautiful hollow where there was a small stream of water. In a very short time I saw a nice size buck walking easily along side the stream. It must have been about 140 yards removed from where I was standing. The buck turned away from me and I immediately decided to take a shot at him. I hit him ‘hard’ because the 150 gram bullet from my 308 caliber Browning rifle knocked him down. The problem was that the buck got up and began to slowly walk away. I waited for several minutes before I began walking down the slope toward where the deer had fallen and there I found a large puddle of blood so I knew he would not live very long. I could hear the deer in the distance but I made the mistake of taking a few steps and that caused the buck to move again. I waited once more and after a few minutes I began walking on the narrow road that I had followed earlier in the morning on my way to the ladder stand which I could now see. Suddenly I looked to my right and several yards away lay a buck deer not far from the ladder stand where I had been sitting for some three hours. I thought, the deer is wounded so I will try a neck shot and not destroy any more meat and that I did. In a moment of time, that buck stood up and I was so surprised because I knew the deer I shot was badly wounded. I was awe stricken when I saw the size of that buck and before I could chamber another round in my rifle that deer ran like it had been shot at by someone trying to kill him.

I stood there amazed and confused. How could a critically wounded deer run so fast? I walked over to where the deer had been laying and found no evidence of blood. I then walked over where he had jumped over a low fence that separated the trees from the pasture. I finally found two small drops of blood on some tall weeds but that was all I found. I called for the land owner to come down and help me look for the deer I shot. Also his neighbor who owned the adjoining property where we were looking came riding up on a John Deere four wheeler and he joined in with us as we searched for the buck I shot. We could find no additional evidence of blood or tracks of this monster of a deer. Undoubtedly, I had missed hitting the deer in a vital area of its neck but I had simply ‘nicked’ him.

We decided to spread out in our search for the wounded deer. My friend’s neighbor finally shouted, “Here he is”, so we walked down to where he and the deer were. As I stared at this buck, I immediately realized that this deer was the one I shot and wounded and was unable to locate. But, what about the very large deer I shot at and simply missed hitting a vital area in its neck? This could not be that buck. I had simply assumed that the second deer was the first deer I had shot and badly wounded it. My mind was whirling with such thoughts like, what if I had shot that second deer where I normally do and that was just behind its front shoulder, I would have had two bucks on the ground. That would not have been good. Furthermore, if I had killed the second deer, would we have continued to look for the first deer I wounded? Though I missed killing a trophy, which the second deer was, I was happy that I did not seriously wound him and hopefully he continued to enjoy life as big bucks do.
Now you may be wondering why I am now writing the ‘rest of the story’ at this time. Well, I finally informed my friend recently that there were two deer involved in my hunt that cold wintry morning. And while I am happy about harvesting a nice 10 point buck, I missed getting a buck that would make this one look like a junior size deer.  Never satisfied, are we. Deer hunters are like that.

09 January 2013

This “Son of the South” was Singing “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”

No, this article has nothing to do with football. I have a young friend who lives in the metropolitan area of the city of Fort Deposit, Alabama and who is an avid deer hunter. He comes by it naturally. I remember the first time I visited his family who lived at that time in rural Butler County. His father, Malcolm, took me to the back yard and showed me a collection of antlers of some of the deer he had harvested over a period of time. I was mightily impressed. He had a ‘clothes line’ from one tree to another and it was loaded with some of the finest antlers I have ever seen in one collection. I think he only shot deer with 8 to 10 points on the antlers. His oldest son Benjamin (Ben) inherited his father’s genes because it was evident by his collection of large antlers. The latest set (20 inch spread) was atop the biggest deer he has ever killed.

Ben is from Benjamin and one definition in Hebrew of this name is “Son of the South” and you can’t get much further south than Lowndes County, Alabama. His surname ‘Callen’ is Irish in origin. Now I don’t really know if Ben can carry a tune in a bucket but I can just imagine he was either whistling ‘Dixie’ or singing ‘When Irish Eyes are Smiling’ because of what he was looking at after he found this buck. But here is his story in his own words.
"I've killed several deer over the past few years of this caliber. It comes from long hours in the stand and from passing young bucks. Funny thing is on this deer is I was coming home from working with dad in the woods and decided I'd stop by and check one of the several game cameras I run almost year round. I had several minutes of shooting light left so I decided to park and walk to the first camera spot I was going to check. I usually don't see many deer in this spot but as I rounded the corner in the road to where I could see the field and it was in there I saw several doe and a young basket rack buck. They caught my wind and left the field. I changed the memory card in my pocket and headed to the next camera location. Upon walking up to it I spotted this buck standing under an oak tree in the edge of the field with his head down. Immediately I could tell he was a shooter buck. I propped my Sako .270 on a corner fence post and centered the crosshairs and squeezed off on him. A puff of smoke came out of my barrel and I couldn't tell whether I hit the deer or not but as I looked up out of the scope I caught a glimpse of him running into the thicket so I knew which way he ran. I walked back to my truck and drove into the field. I searched around where he was standing for awhile for blood. Unsuccessful I decided to make a short circle out through the woods. Luckily I stumbled up on him about 50 yards from where I'd shot him. He was a great buck. No ground shrinkage at all and one of the biggest bucks I've ever killed. I actually had this deer on camera last year also and took a shot with my bow at him and missed. It's funny as many hours as you put in the woods hunting hard that it always seems to be when you least expect it when you stumble upon a big buck."
Oh, did I mention that this seasoned hunter is only in his mid 20s?!

The Mule That Could
Old timers will remember that way back in the 1950s there were mules in the movies and on television, Francis and Ed who could talk. Now if you believe that, let me tell you about this farmer who had a mule that could point a covey of quail. A gentleman from the city came to see his farmer friend and was informed about the unusual ability of this mule. The friend didn’t believe that any mule could ‘point a covey of quail.’ Well, the story goes that the farmer got the mule out of the barn and the three headed for the cover of weeds and tall grass where quail could be found. All of a sudden the mule stopped and pointed with its long snout. The farmer assured his friend that the mule had located a covey of quail. The friend still did not believe that a mule was able to accomplish such a feat. The mule then stomped with its right hoof and up flew, believe it or not, a covey of quail. The mule continued to point out birds until they came to a creek. The friend suggested they cross the creek and look for birds on the other side. The farmer replied that it was impossible to do so and his friend asked ‘why’? The farmer said that his mule would never make it across the creek and his friend with a big question mark on his face again asked, ‘Why’? The farmer replied in no uncertain terms, ‘because he is a better fisherman than he is a hunter.’