When L.E. Bower’s granddaughter, Brandi, chose to go shopping rather than hunting on Dec. 27, 2009, she had no idea the decision would cost her an extra buck.
While Brandi was busy finding ways to spend money that was burning a hole in her pocket that Sunday, her grandfather decided to do a little scouting, which, in Louisiana, means restoking the nugget buffet and watching to see who comes to eat.
After attending church that morning, the Bower family went back home in West Monroe for lunch and to relax. L.E. had planned to take his granddaughter to his deer lease in Ouachita Parish.
“When she changed her mind and wanted to go shopping instead of hunting, I figured I’d just go and put out some corn, and maybe just sit the last hour or so in the stand,” he said.
When the afternoon wore on, L.E. left his easy chair and headed to a local store to pick up a sack of feed for the deer. He lost a little time getting there, however.
“I got stopped by a train,” he said. “I knew what time I needed to be in the stand. I was going to be pushing it.”
Fifteen minutes later, the last car cleared the tracks and L.E. was once again on his way to the store. In a hurry, he immediately set out for his lease after making his purchase.
“I got all the way to where I start the walk to the stand when I realized I’d forgotten my stuff at the store, including the corn, which is why I’d gone to the woods that day in the first place. So I had to go all the way back and get it,” he laughed.
When he reached the woods the second time that afternoon, it was well after the time he’d wanted to be there. To expedite things, he simply ripped a hole in the sack and let the kernels cascade to the ground.
Mission accomplished, L.E. made his way to his stand and decided to sit there until dark, hoping to see if a good buck would show — one a grandchild might shoot later.
“I almost didn’t take my rifle,” he said. “Nothing was going right anyway. Besides, all I wanted to do was watch to see what would show,” he said.
But he did take it.
It was already 4:00 when he got situated, a full hour later than he’d planned. It was practically what he and his granddaughters refer to as “magic time,” when deer come slinking in for a quick meal.
On that day, however, they were a little late, too.
“About 5:00, I saw a buck about 85 yards down the shooting lane and thought it would be a good one for one of the kids to take. I had just taken my glasses off to clean them, when I saw it.
“I really didn’t know how big it was until I looked through my scope, and that’s when I saw antlers going everywhere!” he exclaimed.
L.E.’s finger slid into the trigger guard without a second thought, and one shot from his .30-06 sent the buck careening through the timber.
“I heard it crash in the woods, and then I got down and started looking for blood. I didn’t see any, at first, because I still didn’t have my glasses on,” he said.
“When I decided to go back to the stand, I saw the first sign that I’d made a good hit. There was a bunch of blood on the ground, but it was closer to the stand than I’d thought. I followed the trail for a while and, all of the sudden, there it was ... lying in a treetop.
“That liked to have scared me to death,” he continued. “I didn’t really know how big that deer was until I walked up to it.”
The hunter was in such disbelief, he had trouble coming up with the correct number of points when he later called his wife.
“I told her that it was between 20 and 25 points, because every time I counted, I came up with a different number,” he laughed.
“If Brandi had just been with me, she’d have shot it,” he said. “She’s a really good shot, but I guess when it’s your time, it’s your time. That was my day.”
For the rest of the season, he hunted only with his grandchildren.
“I’ll never top this!” he said.
When fate decides it’s your time to shine, there’s nothing that’ll get in its way, not even a train or forgetfulness.
Hunter: L.E. Bower
BTR Official Score: 218 2/8
BTR Composite Score: 237 7/8
— Photos Courtesy of L.E. Bower
This article was published in the Winter 2011 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home.
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