Daughter buys her dad a license for an out-of-state hunt of a lifetime.
I moved to Rogersville, Ala., five years ago from Mississippi. It was difficult to move, because my father and I have always shared a love for the outdoors. It has always been something that enabled us to have time together. For his 2006 Christmas present, my brother Casey, Mom and I bought him a non-resident Alabama license so he could hunt with me.
It was a big surprise for him, and he was excited to have the opportunity to hunt in Alabama, especially with me. A school teacher, Dad packed his bags and left school the Friday before Thanksgiving to come and stay with me for a week.
We hunted Saturday morning, and I got a small 5-pointer. Dad was excited for me; he has always let deer walk, hoping they would head my way. He had never taken a trophy buck and hadn’t even taken a deer in a long time.
I had to work on Monday, Nov. 20, so Dad fixed a few things around the house and debated whether or not to go hunting that evening. He headed out at 3:30 and decided to give my treestand a try.
After work, I waited at his truck to help him just in case he got something. Sure enough, a little bit before dark, I heard him shoot. About 20 minutes later, he came out to get me to help look for sign.
He was tickled to see me there waiting for him, and we had a ball tracking his buck. When we finally walked up to it, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
But here’s how it happened from Dad’s viewpoint:
It all started when my wife, daughter and son bought me an Alabama hunting license as a Christmas present. Sandy had wanted me to come to Alabama to hunt, but I didn’t want to buy an out-of-state license. The early Christmas present took care of that problem, so Sandy got permission from some friends to hunt their land.
I went to stay with her for a week, and we scouted to look for sign. We put up a few treestands and finally got to hunt together on Saturday, Nov. 18. We were in our stands before daylight, doing everything just right and keeping in touch with our two-way radios.
At 7:30, Sandy said she was looking at a 4-pointer but decided to pass it up. About 30 minutes later, I heard a shot ring out. I waited a short time and then asked if she got it. She said, “Yes!”
We took pictures with the buck in the woods and then again at the local gas station where they always hang deer photos on the wall. Then, we took it to the meat processor and headed home. As we drove, I realized that no matter what else happened, the trip to Alabama had already been everything I hoped it would be.
Sandy had to work on Monday, so I headed out alone. After not seeing anything for three hours, I got down and did a little more scouting. I moved my stand and returned to Sandy’s house to do some odd jobs.
At about 3:30, I headed back to the hunting land. On the way, I decided I would be better off to hunt from Sandy’s stand. I would be able to get in without making as much noise since it was stationary and was located beside a clover field. Deer like to feed in that clover field in the afternoons, so it was a better evening stand than mine.
I put out two bottles of Tink’s 69, one in the field and the other in the woods nearby. Every 15 minutes, I used The Original Can call.
I had been sitting there for about an hour and a half when I thought I saw movement in the far corner of the field. I saw a dark image that looked like the body and legs of a deer, but it turned out to be a bush. I told myself that I was getting tired and starting to see things, and it was probably a good time to go.
On my way out, I spotted a buck standing broadside near the edge of the field. I stepped back into the woods to try not to be seen. Not wanting to take a freehand shot, I decided to prop my gun against a small tree on the edge of the field. The 10 feet I had to walk to the tree seemed like 10 miles. Then, when I looked through the scope, the deer had disappeared.
I knew the buck had to be there, so I put my gun sling around my arm to get a good grip. Then I stepped out into the edge of the field and went down on one knee while propping the gun on the other. The next time I looked through the scope, I saw a monster buck looking right at me just 100 yards away.
I took my mind off the antlers and began to focus on getting a good shot. I was talking to the deer in my head, saying, “Come on, turn just a little more.” I knew I didn’t have much time.
I put the crosshairs on the deer, took a deep breath and squeezed the trigger. After the shot, I saw three white tails leaving the field. I could only hope that one of those tails didn’t belong to my buck.
When I walked to where it had been standing, I searched for a blood trail and didn’t find anything. It began to get dark, so I got out the flashlight and continued to search. After another five minutes, I decided I needed a better light and maybe some help.
When I was almost to my vehicle, I was relieved to see Sandy’s truck behind mine. She had decided to wait for me to see if I needed any help. She had heard the shot and was curious. I told her the only thing I knew: “It was big!”
She told me she had two flashlights in the truck we could use, so we headed back out. After 30 more minutes of searching, we hadn’t found a single drop of blood. I was almost ready to leave the field and give up when Sandy shouted, “Dad! I found a drop of blood!”
I marked the spot and began to look closer. Five minutes later, we found a second drop. The blood was far apart, and Sandy commented that I had probably hit it in the ear — not exactly what I wanted to hear. Then we found more blood droplets and followed them down a hill.
As the amount of blood increased, we knew that the search was almost over. Halfway up the next hill, we found where the deer had turned into the woods. Then I spotted it on the ground and yelled to Sandy, “Come and look! What a buck!”
It had been some time since I had taken a deer, and I had never tagged a monster buck. This was the biggest buck I had ever seen, and I have never been that excited in my life.
Sandy and I jumped up and down, screaming and hollering for five minutes. I just kept saying, “That’s what I call an Alabama deer!”
That non-resident hunting license was the best Christmas present I’ve ever received. A 14-point buck and the hunt of a lifetime are hard to beat.
This article was published in the December 2007 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Join today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.