By Jerry Bultman
-- It's Friday, Dec. 9, 2005. It's cold. I'm hunting Bozeman Farms located along the Big Black River near Flora, Miss. Several months earlier, I had made a donation to Tri-County Academy, a local private school, to participate in this one-day hunt.
I was hunting with a Pedersoli 45-70 Sharps Quigley replica rifle and a Thompson/Center .50 Encore, and I could take a buck and a doe. Because this was my first hunt with the Sharps, I planned to take a doe with it. And since I was using a Buckmasters Nikon scope on the T/C, I would try to take a buck with it.
D.R. Bozeman was my guide for the day. We started our hunt with a great Southern breakfast before we headed to the woods. From my tri-pod stand, I had a great view of a long, narrow food plot. The morning frost sparkled in the early light. The wind was minimal, and it seemed to be a perfect day. However, the deer weren't cooperating. A small doe and a small 5-pointer were all that I saw. We left our stands around 10 a.m. to scout and eat lunch. As we left the property, we noticed deer grazing in fields, bucks chasing does, and a lot of deer on the move.
We decided to eat dinner in a hurry and get back into the woods. My afternoon stand would be in a raised shooting house on the edge of an 8-acre food plot that was about 100 yards from the Big Black River. D.R. drove me on his four-wheeler to within 300 yards of the plot. As I slowly walked to the stand, I noticed several deer already feeding in the plot. It was 2 p.m. as I tried to slip to the stand, but there were too many eyes. The plot cleared when the first doe broke for the far wood line. I did get a look at a nice 10-point buck as it left the west end of the plot. I slowly made my way to the tower, got both guns ready, and sat back to wait for the deer to return.
One hour passed. A doe and two yearlings entered the plot from the southeast. They were immediately followed by a small 8-point buck. I got out my video camera and filmed the four deer. They were about 100 yards from the stand. I kept looking back to the west to see if the 10-pointer had returned. The buck did not return, but within a few minutes several does started appearing from that end of the plot.
The first doe was still about 100 yards distant and it was only 3 p.m., so I decided to try to take the doe with the Sharps. I had sighted it in for 100 yards and was comfortable taking the shot. I steadied the rifle on the window and squeezed the trigger. I missed. The doe only went a few yards and looked around. I loaded another round and fired again. This time the round found its mark. The doe went only about 35 yards into the woods and dropped.
All the other deer remained in the field. I put down the Sharps and picked up the Encore. Almost immediately more deer started coming into the field. There were a dozen or so does and a couple of small bucks. My heart was racing as I glassed the plot now loaded with deer. It was approaching 5 p.m. and the light was getting low, but I felt good about my chances. Just then a doe ran into the field about 100 yards to the east. She was immediately followed by a small 6-pointer. They both ran past the 8-pointer that had been in the field all afternoon and then headed toward me. I videoed the two as they passed. As I looked back to where they had entered the field a large buck stepped out.
I dropped the camera. The shooter moved away from me and toward the 8-point buck. The buck had its head down, its ears back, and was ready to fight. The 8-pointer turned toward him and their noses almost touched. I think the 6-pointer chasing the doe must have grunted about then, because the large buck wheeled around and gave me a broadside shot. I settled the crosshairs on its shoulder and squeezed the trigger.
As the smoke cleared, I saw the big buck down where it had stood. I had just made a 135-yard shot on what turned out to be my best buck ever. The buck is a heavy beamed 8-pointer with an 18 1/2-inch inside spread, a 25-inch left main beam, and a 24-inch right main beam. Its gross score is about 135 1/2 inches. It was a great afternoon and a great hunt. I thank the good Lord for the opportunity to harvest such an outstanding buck.
Pearl River, Louisiana