By James Liston
It was opening week of the 2007 whitetail hunting season for both Mississippi and Tennessee. I decided to spend the opening weekend through Thanksgiving with my father-in-law in Mississippi. I hunted every morning and every evening of those first five days of the season. Some days, I was in the stand from dawn ’till dusk. I saw plenty of deer, but mostly does. The few bucks I saw were really young or not mature enough to be taken. In fact, the largest buck I saw was a 5 point.
I had tried different stands, different clothes and different calls, but nothing seemed to work. Thanksgiving morning rolled around, and I did not even get out of bed early. I spent all day with my wife and her family. I had never been so glad to have a break from the woods, if for nothing else than a change of scenery. However, by that night, the feeling was gone and I was ready to get back to the woods. I just had one choice to make: Do I go back to Mississippi to hunt, or do I go to Tennessee and spend the rest of the week with my parents?
I decided to finish my week in Tennessee with my parents. I arrived to camp late Thanksgiving night, but my dad waited up for me because he wanted to hear about the first part of my week. I told him about all the deer I had seen, but no shooters. He asked where I wanted to hunt the next morning. I told him I would probably just scout for a place. He said he would take me to his stand because he had been seeing a mature 5- or 6-point there and figured I would like a chance at it.
I awoke refreshed the next morning, ready for my chance at a buck. On our way to the stand, my father filled me in on the deer’s habits. He said it would come from a thicket on my left around 8:30, and then return from a ditch on my right around 10:00. He said between the two trips, I should be able to get a shot.
I finally got to the stand. Around 8:30 a.m., I started to get the fever, but then it was gone. Nine o’clock rolled around, and still no sign of the buck. Then, 30 minutes later. I saw movement. I slowly turned my head and saw the largest buck I’d ever seen staring at me. It was all I could do to hold my breath so the buck would not see it. Finally, he was settled and moved around in front of me. He stopped broadside, providing an opening. One shot later, and I was standing over the 10-point trying to quit shaking.
My dad came from the ridge behind me when he heard the shot. He’d made it to my stand when I saw him, and I whistled to get his attention. When he looked at me, I was holding up 10 fingers and had an ear-to-ear grin on my face. He must have thought I was just excited, because when he got to the deer, he started counting. When he reached 10, I think he was more excited than I was.
Since that day, the stand has been mine and has been named the 10-point Stand.