By Patrick H. White
It had been a long week. The weather and moon were working against us. I don’t know what it is about deer in the South, but they just don’t like to move when it is raining.
My daughter Hannah and I had been braving the elements since Christmas. We had seen a good 8-point buck on our Cuddeback cameras, and that’s the deer she decided to hunt.
Hanna was 19 that year. The youngest of my three daughters, she’d been hunting and fishing with me and her uncle Jon since she was 4.
On this hunt, we’d seen a few does and fawns, but nothing big. After the third morning, Hannah decided she would sleep late and hunt during midday. The results were the same: a couple of does would pass through the green field on their way back to the bedding area.
By Dec. 30, Hannah still didn’t have her buck. Around 4:50 p.m. that day, she texted me with the news she’d seen two small bucks, a 4 point and a 6 point.
The next day brought the same results — no deer other than does and little ones. That night, instead of ringing in the new year with friends in another camp, Hannah and I went to bed early, hoping the new year would bring a change in luck.
We went to our respective stands the next morning. It was our last day to hunt, and we intended to make the most of it. We reached our stands well before first light and settled in.
Around 6 a.m., I could see several deer in the field, feeding. After watching them for around 30 minutes, I heard a shot, and then my cell phone rang. It was Hannah, and she was out of breath.
I tried my best to calm her down. I asked what she’d shot. “I think … I think … I think I shot the big 8 point we’d seen in the pictures,” she replied.
She was so excited, she couldn’t describe where she’d shot the deer, only that it went down and then got up and walked away.
I told her I’d be there in a little while and to stay in her stand.
By the time I reached her, she had calmed down. She described how the deer had come from behind her, walked across the field and continued down a mowed path. When it turned, she aimed at the shoulder and fired.
We found sign in the field and her 8 point 75 yards from there. I think I was more excited than my little girl. She called her mother, grandmother, aunts and Uncle Jon.
After a few phone calls, all our friends wanted to see the deer, and Hannah was just too excited to not show everyone. She had hunted her trophy by herself and had the patience to wait for a good shot. I was so proud my little girl had grown up.
I checked her phone bill that month. She had called more than 20 people and had sent text messages to many more. It was a shot heard ’round the county and a New Year’s morning my family will not soon forget.