But so is where ya point it!
By Mike Handley
Photo by Steve Lucas
Deer are supposed to be masters of adaptation.
When the pressure’s on, America’s favorite and most plentiful big game animal tends to disappear faster than pepperoni at a Pizza Hut buffet.
Thus, with all due respect, the buck Tim Fields shot on Jan. 5, 2010, couldn’t have been the sharpest knife in the drawer. Either that or its libido overrode its very short memory.
Tim shot at the palmated 16-pointer a week earlier, from the same stand, but he had only a sob story and a drool-soaked jacket to take home.
On Dec. 28, the 44-year-old logger from Blankston, Ala., climbed into a shooting house his daughter's boyfriend had built. The box is between 10 and 15 feet high and overlooks a 2-acre food plot within the family’s 1,200 or so acres in Fayette County.
Several does were in the field when, just before dark, a monstrous buck with a familiar face eased out of the timber about 180 yards distant.
“I knew I was shooting at a very big buck, probably the same one I had on trail camera,” Tim said. “I’d also found one of its sheds the previous spring.
“I panicked,” he added. “Buck fever set in real bad, and I missed.”
Or so he thought, since there was no sign to the contrary in the deer’s wake.
When Tim told his brother, Thomas, what happened, Thomas launched into his you’re-not-using-enough-gun tirade. “You didn’t miss that deer,” he warned Tim, who’s far more enamored with bows.
Tim had been shooting his favorite rifle, a .257 Weatherby Mag, that day — the same gun his wife, Delisa, had used a couple of weeks earlier to take a 212-pound 9-pointer. Nevertheless, when he returned to that same shooting house on Jan. 5, he was armed with a .300 Win Mag.
It was 3:30 p.m. by the time Tim eased into the house. He’d had to work a long and cold morning before he could get home, collect his gear and drive the mere seven miles to the property. The temperature had dipped into the 20s.
Does were already vacuuming the clover when he arrived.
“We situate our shooting houses so we can get into them and leave without spooking deer that might be in the field,” he said. “I think pressure’s the No. 1 thing — well, maybe that AND human smell — that make deer go nocturnal.
“I call this — hunting food plots from shooting houses — lazy-man hunting,” he adds, almost apologetically. “I’ve put on a few pounds since the days I used to climb trees.
“But hunting over green fields is also a good way to interest kids. That’s how I introduced mine, Justin and Kayla, to the sport,” he said.
The proverbial lightning struck a second time just before dark.
The same buck exited the woods at the same place — only this time, chasing a doe. Tim allowed it to come to within 120 yards and turn broadside before squeezing the trigger.
“I made it count that time,” he said. “The buck dropped in his tracks,” 51 weeks after first being photographed by Tim’s trail cameras.
“I really wanted to get that buck with my bow,” he said. “I saw it once during bow season, but it was too far away. When rifle season opened, I gave up on the idea and started carrying a gun.”
After examining the buck, Tim learned that his brother had been right; he hadn’t missed a week earlier. The bullet grazed the deer’s brisket.
“I was too excited,” he admits. “I must have pulled that shot.”
The deer didn’t weigh as much as he’d thought when looking at the trail cam photos. He estimates it was probably only 175 or 180 pounds on the hoof.
“This just goes to show what you can get if you manage your land,” Tim says. “We feed during the off-season, plant plenty of food plots, even soybeans, and we don’t shoot anything except does unless we’re going to mount it.”
Tim had already decided to have a full-body mount of this rascal, even before he learned it was a state record.
Hunter: Tim Fields
Official Score: 184 6/8
Composite Score: 198 7/8
-- Reprinted from the September 2010 issue of Buckmasters RACK Magazine.