By Larry Porter
A last-minute “scouting” trip results in
a 13-point Tennessee brute.
It was a hot, sunny November day in west Tennessee. The mosquitoes were biting and it was about 80 degrees. I had two hours before my 13-year-old daughter’s basketball game, and I was itching to go deer hunting. Most people hunt for food here. With all the hunting pressure, a buck rarely lives past his second birthday. Finding a trophy in Weakley County is like finding a needle in a haystack.
My daughter arrived home after what she called a hard day and said she just wanted to rest, and that I could go deer hunting instead of helping her practice free throws.
I had joined a hunting club last year with some of my buddies, and this would be my first time to hunt the property. I picked up my son’s muzzleloader, got my mosquito spray and off I went. I would be scouting as much as hunting, since I knew nothing about the farm. I’ve been handicapped since suffering a massive stroke 25 years ago.
Now, my trusty four-wheeler gets me to and from the field, and I can get around using a cane. With the help of family and friends and by the grace of God, I haven’t missed a beat in my love for hunting and fishing. As I got to the field, I grabbed my muzzleloader, fanny pack, doe-in-estrus scent and grunt call. I had an hour and a half to hunt. I always carry a drag rag doused with scent behind my four-wheeler to help cover my scent and also to attract bucks.
I could see a stand from the road that I thought might be a good spot as it overlooked a bean field in the river bottom. I tried my best to get up in the stand, but it just wasn’t going to happen. I nearly fell out trying to get situated. So I got down and fixed a comfortable spot under the stand and leaned my muzzleloader against the first step of the ladder.
God wasn’t the only one smiling at this 13-point 175-pound Tennessee whitetail.
I’ve always thought the best way to deer hunt is to be still and let the deer come to you.
An hour went by, and all I’d seen were two squirrels. With no deer activity, I decided it couldn’t hurt anything to try my old grunt call. I could still smell the doe scent on my fingertips from applying it to my drag rag.
I’m not a professional by any means, but I grunted a few short grunts. What happened next left me in disbelief. This buck bolted from a thicket, looking for a fight or at least to protect his territory. He was heading right to me from across the open bean field, in full view. It happened so quickly that when the buck stopped at 75 yards, I hadn’t even had time to raise my gun.
I finally managed to get my gun on him, but he started walking again, looking for the other buck. His hair was bristled and his ears laid back - ready to fight. When he stopped again at 60 yards, I pulled the trigger.
After the smoke cleared, all I could see was antler. I waited 10 minutes to be sure he wasn’t going to run. At 5:10, I rode up to him. The rack carried 13 points, some of the longest I’ve ever seen, with forks like a muley and double drop tines. It was the nicest deer I’ve laid eyes on to date.
I’ve never been a big believer in grunt calls, but after this hunt I will never be caught without one. There’s no doubt the combination of my deer scent and a grunt call did the trick on this old buck.
Had my daughter wanted to practice her free throws, I never would have gone deer hunting. And the heat almost deterred me as well. Once I got out there, I was tempted to leave early.
The bottom line: If you get a chance to go hunting, go! You never know what’s going to happen. I have hunted for 40 years and spent thousands of hours in the field, but still I couldn’t have predicted this.
Just when I think life can’t get any better, God allows something else unbelievable to happen.
-- Reprinted from the September 2006 issue of Buckmasters Magazine