Wet Britches

The previous May, having retired to my ranch outside of Goldthwaite, Texas, 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.”   Before the season I had spotted some real nice bucks, but the first rut cycle ended for me without a clear shot.

Getting out of bed early the Friday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 28, it was raining copiously so I decided to sleep in, telling myself that I would try hunting around noon. Noon found me climbing into tree stand that was near a corn feeder and several well used deer trails. Of course, as I climbed to eye level with the seat, it had caught water from the earlier rain and I had nothing to wipe it out with, not even a hankie!

Roughing it, I plopped into the watery seat and very soon my rear had soaked up all the water. Thank goodness it was 80 degrees that day and looking back to that year, we didn’t have a freeze until just before Christmas.

Not 5 minutes after I settled down, a young doe came bouncing down the trail and following her was an equally young 6 pointer, not an option, but, maybe, the second phase of the rut was beginning. Maybe today would be the day?

In my haste to get to hunting, I had forgotten my rattling horns, but I did have my grunt call looped around my neck, and the next thing I knew, trotting out of the thick brush, was a nice buck.  A quick glance showed that his nose seemed to be too short, he had some size, his neck was swollen and his legs looked short. Checking his horns, which weren’t that heavy, I saw they were well past his ears, a definite shooter!

Raising my .270 to my shoulder and holding it up with my left hand, he was still trotting along the trail when I let him have a grrrrunt!  He stopped, looked directly at me, the .270 boomed, the buck hopped then took off.

He was hit solid, so after a short wait, I tracked him for 50 yards and saw he was down for good. I headed back to the ranch house to get Spike, our Dachshund, so he could get some more practice tracking a downed deer. He nosed right to the buck and began his vigil, guarding him and keeping me away.   He’s never figured out that I shoot the deer, then go and get him so he can practice finding it, then he guards the deer and only lets Layla come close.

Anyway, today’s hunt will be well remembered, but its funny how quickly we forget the hours and hours of preparation prior to the hunts and we even forget the wet britches that we sometimes endure!