posted on July 09, 2012 06:43
By Mike Handley
It’s been said that the two happiest days in a fisherman’s life are when he buys a boat and when he sells it. Might the same be true for hunters and land?
Prior to a rainy Nov. 28, 2011, Eric Williams could’ve believed it.
He and his wife, Angela, fled the cramped suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio, in May 2010 to homestead 17 acres in Warren County. At the time, Eric had every intention of playing hard in his new back yard, but that didn’t happen.
“With Angela and me both working, and three boys who seem to be into every imaginable sport, I was just strapped for time,” he said.
Eric strolled the property a few times in 2010 and saw plenty of deer sign. He and his sons even erected a double ladder stand, but it sat vacant the entire season.
The first time anyone sat in the stand was in 2011, when Eric allowed his oldest boy, Tanner, to hunt alone for the first time. The kid wound up shooting his first antlered deer. Dad was thrilled, but even that didn’t inspire him to suit up in camo.
Inspiration came when he and a friend (who ribbed him mercilessly) rabbit-hunted the property and saw lots of buck sign.
“You could smell, see and feel the presence of a dominant buck,” Eric said.
On Nov. 28, opening day of gun season, Eric woke up at 5 a.m., stood on the front porch and listened to the rain. He wouldn’t normally venture afield on a day like that. But he was itching to go, and he’s glad he did.
“I saw deer everywhere,” he said. “That was the first time anyone had sat in the stand in the morning, and it was amazing, except for the weather.”
After breaking for lunch and doing a few chores around the house, he returned to the woods in dry clothes. He hung a few fragrant wicks, sprayed himself with scent killer and used his grunt and bleat calls. Less than an hour later, he smoked what he thought was a 150-inch 8-pointer.
Turns out, it was way bigger than that. The 21 points tallied 177 5/8 inches on the BTR scale (with a composite score of 195). It’s No. 11 among Irregulars felled by blackpowder in Ohio, and Ed Waite’s story about it will be in Rack magazine this fall.