By Kyle Mullen
I took my first buck later in life than most hunters. I was 26 at the time. My dad was big on bird hunting, but he never wanted to hunt big game.
My mom passed away several years earlier. When she was diagnosed with a rare cancer of the adrenal gland, she was told she would have four months to live. She promised me she would watch me graduate college, and that was a year away.
She fought hard and missed my graduation by 2 months. During this time, I gave up hunting because I was traveling home to see her every weekend. I made some promises to her, and I was bound and determined to keep them. One of those was to be successful in life, and the other was to go back to what made me happy, being outdoors. She told me whatever I do, to love every minute of it.
My grandma and her brother owned 105 acres on the Neosho River. Her brother was getting too old to make the trips to keep the land in shape. My dad purchased the land and turned 30 acres into a food plot. I told him I wanted to get a nice buck there, and he kept asking why I wanted a deer so badly. It wasn’t for me, I told him. It was for the greatest woman to ever grace this world with her presence. It was my way of showing her I kept my promise and I was doing what I love.
My dad purchased a couple of trail cameras, and we got some pictures of a nice 8-point buck. It took me almost all of the first season to even see him, and when I did, he was with four does eating the corn we had set out. I watched him for almost 10 minutes before grabbing my gun. It was a great feeling to finally see what I had wanted for so long.
He stood 105 yards from my ground blind. I took him with one shot from my .300 WSM. He dropped at the edge of the field, and I couldn’t get to him fast enough. I will admit I had a few tears when I finally got to hold his head up. There is nothing better then fulfilling a promise and harvesting a great river buck. This is for you, Mom.
We didn’t score him officially but we estimated around 130 or 140. His rack was 23 inches tall. He was perfect, and it was the perfect hunt!