By Jason Jerome Senn
It was a cold January morning. There’s not a better time to be in the woods in south Alabama. And of all the mornings I could oversleep, it had to be this one.
Getting up early is critical where I hunt because it’s on public land. The first several places I went were already taken. Even my “backup spot for my backup spot” was taken.
I finally thought of an area most people overlook but still has potential for good bucks. By the time I reached it and climbed a tree, it was 7 a.m., which is late for me. I figured by getting in the tree late, I would sit well past lunch and make the best of it.
After sitting for about an hour, I began to hear dogs running. The sound of their barks and yelps was getting louder. I remember thinking with every bark that nothing would come by me if they got much closer. They continued until there was no doubt I’d see them and what they were chasing.
I caught a glimpse of a deer crossing a narrow road bed, and the dogs were not far behind. It took only a few minutes for them to run the deer out of hearing range. After all of the racket they made, I thought for sure the damage was done and the morning was wasted.
About an hour later, a group of six or seven does trotted out. They provided a few shot opportunities, but I’d learned a good lesson from shooting a doe during the rut a few seasons back. It cost me a great buck.
I was determined to take a good buck this year, so I waited.
About 10:15 a.m., I heard limbs cracking, and I knew it was because of a deer. Before it reached the road bed, I could see its antlers through the brush.
Knowing it wouldn’t take much time for the buck to cross the road, I prepared to shoot. I reached for my hands-free Primos grunt call in case I’d need to get his attention.
By the time I’d raised the call to my lips, the buck was across the road and about to vanish.
I blew one short, soft blast. He then turned back and posed, standing tall with his head held high.
I pulled the trigger. The buck fell, kicked a few times, and it was over.
Earlier I’d been discouraged, but now everything was perfect. Making the best of your time in the woods has its rewards.
The buck was only a 6 point. He had a 15.25-inch inside spread, and he weighed 165 pounds — not bad for a public-lands whitetail. Although this is the biggest buck I have taken, I did not mount him because his tines were not very long and I have seen bigger deer on WMAs. But I am very proud of the accomplishment and am glad to have this story to tell.