By Gita M. Smith
Trevor Wallace couldn’t look.
Meanwhile, crouched next to him, his 7-year-old daughter, Morgan, was all eyes. Her grandfather’s Remington .22-250 was pressed to her cheek, and she was struggling to focus through its scope.
A moment earlier, a buck with a massive rack had crested the hill with the rising sun behind it. The size of its antlers had caused Trevor to stare down at his knees. He feared that if he looked up at the deer, he would start to shake.
He shook anyway.
“Daddy, the glare from the sun is in my scope,” Morgan whispered urgently. “I can’t find him!”
Trevor fought down his own sense of urgency as best he could. The buck was trying to catch up with two does. And if his little girl didn’t take the shot soon, her chance would evaporate with the morning dew.
“Take your time ... but hurry!” he said, and then almost burst out laughing at his own contradictory advice.
It was Oct. 30, Missouri’s youth gun season. The crops were harvested, and the rut was beginning in Gentry County.
Trevor bowhunts the property across the road from their home. He’d seen several young 6-pointers while harvesting soybeans, and he thought one of those would be perfect for his daughter, which is why he avoided that spot during archery season.
“I wanted to save those bucks for the kids in gun season,” he said.
Second-grader Morgan was eager for her turn. She and her younger brother, Lance, had been shooting at targets in preparation for the 2010 season.
Trevor and Morgan awoke before sunup on the fateful day, ate breakfast, and then walked the quarter-mile from the house to a massive Osage orange tree that offered a good view and concealment. It was a warm morning with a light wind out of the west.
Morgan remembers telling her father over breakfast, “I don’t think we’re going to get anything today.”
But soon after they settled next to the tree, Morgan saw deer.
“Two does came running past us. I said, ‘Oh look, Dad!’ And he asked me, ‘Do you want to shoot one of them, or wait for a buck?’ I said, ‘Wait for a buck,’” she grinned.
After the does passed, Trevor got out his grunt call and gave three fairly loud grunts. A fourth grunt wasn’t his.
“Behind us, Morgan. It’s coming up behind us,” Trevor whispered.
The buck was apparently taking the same trail the does had followed.
It was within 50 yards when Morgan saw it. Trevor had already got an eye-full of the buck’s rack and was staring down at his lap. “I was thinking, ‘Everything that deer ate must’ve gone straight to antlers,’” he said.
“Put the crosshairs on his body and squeeze,” he told Morgan.
“The scope is glowing too brightly,” she said.
Trevor opened one eye, looked up very slowly, and then put his head back down.
“Squeeze, just like we practiced,” he said.
Morgan concentrated. She waited. And when the buck turned just enough to block the sun’s glare, she found its boiler room and squeezed the trigger, just like her father taught her.
“Daddy was looking down at the ground at the moment I shot it in the heart,” announced the little girl. “It just tipped over backwards.
“Then he looked up and said, ‘Omigosh, Morgan!’ And I jumped up and did a happy dance,” she added.
The pair walked over to the downed buck, counted its 15 points, and then let the shock wear off for a few moments. Afterward, the celebrating began in earnest.
Trevor called his brothers, Treston and Tory. Morgan dashed home to tell her mother. By that afternoon, their driveway and property were full of family and area hunters eager to photograph and make much over the bruiser buck and the tiny girl who shot it.
“Getting a kid with a rifle on a deer ... so many things have to happen right,” Trevor said. “It takes a lot of patience. Hard as it might be for some guys to believe, I like taking my kids with me more than hunting by myself.”
Hunter: Morgan Wallace
BTR Official Score: 192
BTR Composite Score: 210 5/8
— Photos Courtesy of Trevor Wallace
This article was published in the October 2011 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.
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