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Roll On!

FristoeBy Harry Fristoe

-- Last deer season was about as good as anyone could ever dream about. I took a nice doe during opening morning of muzzleloader season, and I took an 8-point buck on the opening day of the Texas rifle season. The following weekend I was back home in Louisiana and managed to harvest a buck. If the season had ended there it would have been a wonderful success. But my story continues.

Each year I go on  a hunt with Mike Martin and Rick Fussell, who are old friends from college. We plan on a muzzleloader hunt each year and try to hunt the right moon phase and pre-rut conditions. The first morning of the hunt found me in a lock-on stand on the edge of a logging road with a cutover on one side and mature hardwoods on the other side. Logging crews had been harvesting timber the past week but because of heavy rains we knew we would be hunting undisturbed woods. 

Shortly after daylight the first of three log trucks and several service vehicles passed my stand location. So much for an undisturbed hunt! My confidence level soon faded. Upon going to the woods that morning, I agreed to meet Rick at 9:30. Mike had a family medical emergency and said he would be back for lunch.  I glanced at my watch and it was 9 a.m. I wondered if Rick could hear the saws humming and if he had counted how many trucks piled with logs had passed my stand location. 

With this thought barely out of my mind, I caught a glimpse of a buck approaching the road.  At that instant, he headed back into thick cover. I could not wait to tell Rich what I had seen. As I was going over the picture of this buck in my mind, I was brought back to reality when a fully loaded log truck passed my location and the operator waved to me!  Boy, what a hot-spot to hunt. As I prepared to climb down, I caught movement down the logging road about 80 yards away. The same buck I had seen earlier stepped out of the woods and started to cross the logging road. I made a soft grunt with my voice. The buck stopped and looked back toward my stand. In an instant, my Knight muzzleloader was at my shoulder, the crosshairs were centered, and the Barnes X bullet was on its way. 

The rest is history. Rick heard my shot and was soon at my side. The deer fell in the middle of the red clay road. Rick told me that we had better grab the deer and drag him off of the road before a log truck ran over him. Up until this time I knew that the deer was the best buck I had ever taken, but I thought little else about it.   

We field-dressed the deer and headed to camp. It did not take long to attract a crowd. Immediately, one of the camp members got a tape measure and a tablet and started to tabulate the score of my deer. At the end of the measurements, he said the deer would score in the mid-150s. I did not have a clue that the deer was this big. The green score was 159 B&C. The deer had nine measurable points with 24-inch main beams, an 18-inch inside spread, brow tines over 10 and 11 inches, and P2s over 8 and 10 inches! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would see a buck this big, much less take one of this magnitude.

After we caped out the head and hung the buck in the cooler, Mike drove up. I had torn the lid off of a cereal box and transferred the scores of the antlers. When Mike got out of his truck, I handed him the boxtop. He rolled his eyes and walked over and opened the cooler door. 

I could tell by the smile on Mike's face how excited he was for me. The stand he put me on that morning was one of his favorites!  That tells you a little about the kind of person Mike is. 

When I started deer hunting back in 1962, I never dreamed of taking such a find buck.  Being with my two friends, Mike and Rick, made the log truck buck even more special!

Harry Fristoe
Ruston, Louisiana

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