By Tony Harris
-- It started out as a cold January morning. The rut was in full swing in the northern part of Alabama. It was my first year in a new club, and I had not had a lot of time to scout. The only place that I had time to look was apparently where most people wanted to hunt. Later, I would find out why.
Finally, I was lucky enough to be the first to pin in the morning I was ready to hunt, and I knew exactly where I was going. I had gotten into the woods and up the tree overlooking a half-acre green field an hour before daylight. There was a meteor shower going on, as I settled into my climbing stand for a long morning hunt. I took this as a good sign. But then I sat there until 11 a.m. without seeing a thing.
Frustrated and cold, I climbed down thinking I would look around, see what was moving in the area and find a better spot to hunt that evening. I had walked around 45 minutes or so when I started down an old logging road. On one side was a large pine forest, and on the other a 2-year-old clearcut.
Noise and movement caught my attention. I started back down the road, and out of nowhere, the largest deer I have ever seen jumped up, ran and then stopped broadside.
I quickly shouldered my .30-.30, squeezed the trigger and "click." I looked down to see that my rifle's safety was on! I took it off, pulled the trigger and again "click." I forgot to reload my rifle after I climbed down the tree!
I suppose that one of the side effects of buck fever is stupidity!
By this time, the big buck was long gone. I figured that since the buck was in there with a doe he would try to slip back in before the day was over. As I walked in front of the green field, a deer blew at me. I whirled around just in time to see that same buck running off.
The deer I had seen that day was a 150-class, 16-point buck. I know this because two weeks later, another member found him on that same logging road I was on. He was 50 yards from the main road that runs by our club - the buck had been hit by a car.
I am still in that same club. Now I am the vice president, and even though this particular buck is not alive, I am sure it left many sons and grandsons to take its place.
The next year, on Thanksgiving Day, I took this 8-point buck at the club. Maybe it is one of his sons?