Sound of incessant rattling leads to humbling moment for lady hunter.
By Sherrill Camp
In 2002, my employer, Jim Bennett, decided that he would take three of us deer hunting in the Texas Hill Country in 2003 as a bonus. Mr. Bennett loves to hunt, but more than that, he loves to give. Chad, Joe and I had never had this kind of opportunity, and we all knew it would be our best chance ever to take a real trophy.
In November of 2003, we found ourselves at the Turney Ranch where we met owners Paul and Stacy Turney; son Jack; and Hank, a friend who was helping guide. It was about 3 o’clock when we arrived, so we grabbed our gear and loaded up for the afternoon hunt. I was the first out, and Stacy apologized for the old box stand but mentioned a good buck had been seen in that area.
To say the first afternoon was eventful would be an understatement. I saw lots of deer, but nothing like I knew I was looking for, a good 120- to 130-inch buck.
The next morning, everyone wanted to hunt a different stand than the previous afternoon, but I chose not to. I like to give a stand a chance. So, again, I was first out at this old box stand with the yellow shag carpet and cut-off blue jean legs for blinds.
It was about an hour before daylight and, as soon as it got quiet, I heard rattling only 20-30 yards away. It sounded like two small bucks sparring, but it soon stopped. I didn’t give it much thought since it was so dark. By first light, I could see deer moving about when the rattling started again. They were behind some trees and bushes, and I couldn’t see them. I kept expecting the deer to move into view when the clattering stopped again.
I then watched a spike come from in front of me and walk around to my left and behind this same clump of trees. So I studied it as it came out behind me, never missing a step, but looking back at what was behind the trees. My curiosity was killing me when suddenly the noise began again. By then, the sunlight had begun to shine through a hole in this clump of trees, and I saw one deer backing up and shaking, but I couldn’t see its head. It backed up another step, and I saw more bone in one place than I had ever seen. Then it backed up another step, and I could not believe my eyes.
These two bucks were locked up, and one deer was on the ground. It all came together at once. I quickly climbed from my stand, eased around the trees and shot the big 8-pointer.
When I approached, I realized the smaller deer, a 12-pointer, was still breathing but unconscious. Apparently, it had broken off one tine during the tussle. Since I believed his suffering was already over, I decided not to shoot him.
After a moment of looking at the two deer and realizing what had just happened, I was overcome. I fell on my knees and thanked God for His blessing. This was a unique experience; to have witnessed these deer struggling for their lives really grabbed me.
This all happened around 8 a.m., and, within 20 minutes, the 12-pointer had taken its last breath. I waited patiently until 10:00 to be picked up.
I was standing outside the blind when Stacy arrived,. She could tell I had shot something and asked where it was. I told her I had, but that she had to get Mr. Bennett and the others so they could see it right where it was. We walked around the trees, and she couldn’t believe it. Before leaving to get the rest of the party, I had her promise to keep it a secret.
When Stacy returned, I gave Mr. Bennett a big hug and showed them what I had. They were all amazed, and Mr. Bennett was as happy as if he had taken them himself. He took pleasure from the joy I experienced, and I thank him for what truly was the gift of a lifetime.
This article was published in the December 2004 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Join today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.