By Wally Cummins
Wally Cummins harvested this 10-point buck, the biggest buck of his life, during the rut in Mississippi.
-- My hunting story took place when my girlfriend, Stephanie, and I hunted during the rut on Davis Island, which is a few miles south of Vicksburg, Miss. Our hunting club, Buckhorn II, is surrounded by the Mississippi River, which requires having a boat to get there. What's more, there is no electricity and cell phone service is spotty at best.
Stephanie had hunted deer prior to this outing but had never harvested one. This was about to change. The day was unusually warm, but the weather does not matter much when the rut is in full swing. Obviously, the hunting is better when the temperature is cooler, but the deer just have one thing on their minds - I can assure you it is not the weather.
We started out hunting a road stand. The sunrise that morning was beautiful. I always say everyone should see at least one sunrise from the woods a year. A good sunrise helps to put life into perspective. Following the sunrise and not seeing any movement, we headed to another stand located at the back of our property.
Noon came and we decided to climb down. I saw a buck chasing a doe as we walked through the woods. I loaded my rifle, pulled it up to aim, and within five seconds took a shot. I dropped the 10-point buck in its tracks. The deer had a 20-inch inside spread and 21-inch main beams. This was by far the biggest deer I had ever taken.
After lunch, we headed back out and decided to sit in a box stand, which overlooks a large food plot. By 5 p.m., we noticed a small doe walk into the plot about 150 yards away. The doe was too small to shoot. A few minutes later, a much larger doe walked out from the exact same spot in the woods. It took several minutes of grazing before the doe turned broadside for a perfect shot.
Stephanie Palmer took her first deer from a food plot during the 2008 rifle season in Mississippi.
Stephanie had to sit in my lap because she was not tall enough to see through the window of the box blind. She steadied her rifle and dropped the doe. She almost jumped out of the stand and ran to the deer with excitement. After I slowed her down and told her that the deer was not going anywhere, we got our stuff together and walked to where the deer was. We took a few pictures of the 140-pound doe.
In one day I had taken the biggest deer of my life, and Stephanie had taken her first deer. An experience like this is truly what the sport of hunting is all about. It's not about harvesting record bucks or taking a limit every season. Hunting is about memories you make with friends and family. I will cherish this moment and tell this story countless times because of the pure joy it brought to Stephanie and me.
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