Better Late Than Never

Our central Texas Deer season opens in a few days and I think a post and picture of a very, unappearing, successful hunt would be quite appropriate.

Better Late Than Never

My “second rut” buck!

Having retired to my ranch in Goldthwaite, Texas, the previous May, I was looking forward to, and planning on a “bang-up” Deer season, but as Robert Burns, the Scottish poet said, “Sometimes our plans falter and go astray.” I had spotted some real nice bucks before the season, but the first rut had ended without me getting a clear shot.

Getting out of bed early the Friday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 28, it was raining copiously and I decided to sleep in, telling myself that I would try hunting around noon. Noon found me climbing into “Poppy’s Stand” stand that was near a corn feeder and a well used Deer trail. Of course, as I climbed into the stand, the seat had caught some water from the rain, finding me without even a hankie.

Roughing it, I plop into the wet seat and very soon my rear has soaked up the water. Thank goodness it is 80 degrees now. Looking back, that year our temperature didn’t get to freezing until just before Christmas.

Not 5 minutes after I settle down, a young doe comes bouncing down the trail and following her is an equally young 6 pointer, not an option, but, maybe, the second phase of the rut is beginning. Maybe today will be the day.

For some reason, I had left my rattling horns at home, but I did have my grunt call looped around my neck, and the next thing I know, trotting out of the thick brush, is a nice buck.
A quick glance/study and I see that his nose seems to be too short and he has some size. His neck is swollen and his legs look short. Checking his horns, which aren’t that heavy, I see they are well past his ears.

Raising my Ruger .270 to my shoulder and holding it up with my left hand, he’s still trotting along the trail when I let him have a grrrrunt! He stops and looks directly at me and the .270 booms and the buck hops and takes off.

He is hit solid and after a 15 minute wait, I track him for 50 yards and see he is down for good. I head back to the ranch house to get Spike, our Dachshund, so he can get some more practice tracking a downed Deer. He “noses” right to the buck and begins his ritual of guarding him, keeping all of the onlookers but my wife, Layla, away.

Today’s hunt will be well remembered, but its funny how quickly we forget the hours and hours of preparation and wet britches that we endure.