By Gita M. Smith
The story behind Arkansas’ State Record Typical by rifle.
Sean Longnecker wanted to make a few things clear, up front.
“I am not a deer hunter, so I usually hunt about an hour a year, and I don’t keep up with anything new,” he said. “I don’t go out and scout for sign, and it doesn’t matter to me what kind of rifle I’m using because deer are really easy to shoot.”
While duck hunting in flooded timber during the winter of 2009, the farm manager from Stuttgart, Ark., saw a great big buck rub. He told his pal, David Stark, who runs the local duck club, that he was going to get that buck when the deer season opened, not that anyone believed him.
‘“No way in the world,’ they said,” grinned Sean.
“So I bought a little pop-up deer blind, and I set it up on top of a levee that separates some dry woods from a flooded area. I’d told my wife, Christy, she could hunt there opening weekend because she likes to deer hunt more than I do,” he said. “But she went out of town that weekend, and I took the spot.”
On Friday, Nov. 13, Sean and some friends gathered to spend the night at a deer camp where libations were plentiful.
“I like the deer camp part,” he said. “I just don’t like the hunting. Usually, I’m the one who leaves the gun at home.”
He got up the next morning around 11:00, but did not leave the camphouse until 1:30. “My eyes were crossed,” he recalled.
At that point, Sean walked a quarter-mile to the levee blind ... “by myself,” he added.
“I was unzipping the back door of the blind, ready to take a nap, when my wife called. She needed me to deliver some papers from the house to Little Rock, which is about an hour’s drive. So I walked back the whole quarter-mile, got the papers and so on.”
It was 3:45 when Sean finally got back to the blind. “I knew nobody would mess with me in there. I could take a nap for the rest of the day,” he said.
The blind was hot and stuffy, but he sat there 15 minutes and watched a spike and four does come out to eat acorns in the water.
About 4:20, he saw a doe at the edge of the ditch and caught a glimpse of a buck behind her. The pair got within 75 yards of Sean at the edge of the woods. Between them was nothing but water.
“When I got to where I could see the buck, it could see me. So I shot through the screen of the blind’s window. It says you can do that, on the box.”
He saw the buck fall and start kicking.
“It fell into the water and was splashing water up in the air all over the place. All the other deer ran, and I thought it ran away, too, from what I could see through the blind. I tried to get out of there fast, but I couldn’t get the zipper down or up, or whichever way it goes. So I just stood up, and the blind flipped over.”
When he finally freed himself from the uncooperative blind, Sean craned to see the fallen deer.
“It was far enough out there that I couldn’t see it, and I didn’t know if it was lying there or not,” he continued.
The hunter ran up and down the nearby levee for a couple of minutes before he realized there was no way he could jump across the 15-foot-wide ditch. He sprinted the quarter-mile (again) back to camp and hooked an aluminum, flat-bottomed boat to his vehicle.
“I just dragged the boat down the road to the levee, paddled across, started walking and saw the buck lying where I’d shot it,” he said
He phoned his friend, David Stark, “the one who’d said ‘No way.’ He was in a wedding in Dallas, Texas, but it was the end of the wedding, so he could talk to me.”
Sean dragged the buck by its rack to the boat.
“I loaded it in the boat, which was not easy. By then, it was almost dark. I was sitting in the boat’s front seat, trying to catch my breath. I phoned another friend, Todd Wallworth, and asked him to come help me. Then I paddled back across the ditch and pulled the boat up with the truck.”
That’s when Sean’s excellent adventure took a bad turn.
“Turns out, the front of the boat was full of fire ants, which I had not seen as I’d been busy trying to do everything else. They were all up in my shirt, on my back and up my arms, in my drawers, and I couldn’t see them. They are the worst thing in the world. I would rather fight a snake than a fire ant,” he said.
He drove back to the shed, slapping at fire ants the whole way. Todd showed up and helped load the buck into Sean’s truck.
“I had a flashlight. Up to that point, I had not been able to tell the size of that buck. But when Todd saw it, he said ‘Holy crap!’ We took it to his house where a couple of other guys looked at it. They said ‘Holy crap,’ too. Same thing at the deer-processing place.”
The processor caped the deer, and Sean took the antlers back to a friend’s house to store them in a freezer.
“Christy said next year I can go hunting WITH her, but I can’t carry a gun,” he laughed.
Hunter: Sean Longnecker
Official 186 5/8
Composite: 205 7/8
– Photos courtesy of Christy Longnecker
This article was published in the August 2011 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.