This past weekend for me, ranks as a “top three” in terms of enjoyment in the deer woods and I didn’t even pull a trigger!
Let me explain, I hunted Saturday morning and saw numerous small bucks and does but, I have a freezer full of fresh venison from earlier this year and was hunting for a trophy class buck. Well, around lunch as I made my way along the east boundry of the property, I found not one but, two trophy bucks, or at least very respectable bucks. Only problem was, they were both already dead! They had locked antlers in what must have been a battle royale and gotten their antlers wedged together so tightly that quitting was not an option and they fought to the death! What a waste of prime Alabama White tailed deer! I did a decapitation of both heads and the antlers were so locked up, that even when we pulled, twisted and tugged, they would not budge! My nephew wanted them, so I put them in the deer cooler we have to hang deer in for aging the meat and he is investigating with a local taxidermist about mounting them in that locked up position.
Saturday night I went down to Eutaw and spent the night at my father in law’s house since my wife and grandaughter were there visiting him. My granddaughter Anna Faye, who turned 11 this week and has only indicated a mild interest in hunting because she does not agree with me shooting any “girl deers” asked me if I would take her hunting with me on Sunday morning. Naturally, I agreed but told her she may only see a “girl deer” and she said she might shoot one if no “boy deers” came out for her to shoot. We laughed and agreed the hunt was on. However, she had no hunting clothes so my wife went to the dollar store and bought her some dark colored sweats and a cheap camoflauge jacket and sneakers. At 4:00 a.m. when I woke her up, expecting her to say she changed her mind and it was too early, she popped out of bed with a level of excitement and enthusiam that made me proud. We headed out to the farm and stopped for breakfast on the way for some “heat lamp sausage biscuits” from the local service station. Anna Faye commented as she wolfed down her biscuit that it was “great” and from where I sat looking at my granddaughter in a whole new light, I had to agree.
When we got to the farm we went to a shooting house that is at ground level and big enough for us both to have plenty of room. The green field is a large one, about 400 yards long and ranged out at 210 yards across to the woodline from where we sat. This field is one we often use to introduce young hunters since most mornings or evenings it will attract 10 to 20 deer on an average day. However, this day was not average, it was downright pitiful! The weather was warm and with a sparse shower passing through on ocassion. We sat from daylight to a little after 8:00 and Anna Faye was beginning to tire of this “deer hunting thing.” She had looked through my binoculars for deer until she was ready to give up and was reverting to a “fidgety girl child” from the fired up young hunter that first walked to the stand. I was really getting dissapointed because I wanted her to at least see some deer so she would see some of the wonder of hunting but, we had saw nothing in a location where that is just plain bad luck.
Just then….. I saw a nice buck step out of the woods but, he was on the far side of the green field and walking paralell to the woodline almost 200 yards away. I hit my grunt tube a couple of times and he stopped but, then continued on walking. I whistled and stopped him again as Anna Faye was asking if she could shoot him. I told her he was much too far for her to be able to make a shot of that distance, but then I thought, why not? At least when she misses, she can tell her mom and dad the story of how she shot at a big buck while hunting with her “poppop”. So I got her position set with the gun and told her to place the cross hairs on his shoulder and squeeze, not jerk the trigger. She said she could not see him and I moved the gun over and she said “There he is !There he is!” She fired my 30-06 Weatherby perfectly, and much to my amazement and hers, She rolled him! He jumped up and ran into the woods but, I knew she got him!
We hugged, high fived, and talked about what a great shot she made.. and it was! We crossed the muddy green field and her feet got soaked but, she said she didn’t care she wanted to see her deer! I found him about 20 yards out in the woods, a nice 7 pointer who weighed close to 160 lbs. Watching your granddaughter on her first hunt have some great beginner’s luck was a memory we will both cherish the rest of our days and I think I might have a new hunting buddy! She is already looking forward to Turkey season and I am too!
I have gotten lots of reports and a few photos from folks who are taking a good number of nice bucks in this late stage of the season. Sanford Peeples, from Elmore County, took a real nice buck on a hunt down in Grady and I have a photo posted of it. Sanford said the buck was fooled into coming looking for him since he used a “drag rag” with some doe in heat scent and the buck came down the trail Sanford walked in to his stand on and came trotting out into the green field looking for the doe he thought he was trailing. Just shows what good scent control of human odor with clean rubber boots and using deer scents to turn the “smell game” to your advantage. Way to go Sanford!
February is a great time to take a kid squirrel or rabbit hunting so plan now!
For those of you who think you are a champion squirrel hunter, the Alabama Wildlife Federation is hosting their annual Dave Nelson Memorial squirrel hunt and if you like some competition hunting along with helping a great organization. For more information check out the web site http://www.alabamawildlife.org/ Tim Gothard or some of his coworkers at the AWF will be glad to answer questions about how you can be a part of this great event.
Other events coming in February - Elmore County National Wild turkey Federation Hunting Heritage Auction and Banquet will be held Thursday night February 23rd at the Wetumpka Civic Center. This is a great annual banquet and is one of the best in the state of Alabama, with past wins as the premiere banquet in the state. If you would like tickets, send me an email. I am firstname.lastname@example.org
Coosada Baptist Church will host an Outdoor Sports weekend event on Saturday and Sunday, February 25th and 26th, with an archery competition complete with mechanized -pop up targets. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top competition shooters in the open and pro-class. There is an entry to shoot in the contest. But, the overall event is free and open to the public! There will be many other outdoor venues including Hunter safety certification by the department of conservation, free food galore, some of it wild game, some not. Boating, fishing, tons of door prizes, turkey calling, fishing instruction and more. Check out Coosadabaptist.org for more info. Or just click on this link http://www.coosadabaptist.org/index.cfm/pageid/1371/index.html
This season is about done and so is this edition, GO HUNT and take a child, it is a great experience for you both, especially if one of them is your child or GRAND child!
Until next week, good hunting before it is gone!