Opening day of deer season is a special thing here in Texas. It is a day that we all wait for year after year. This year, opening day started out gloomy, but ended up being one of my most memorable.
It all started with a phone call as my brother Steven and I arrived at our deer lease in Brady, Texas.
Sickness Throws Wrench in Plans
The phone call was from good friends and hunting partners, Steven, Luke, and Angel Marksberry. They were on their way to the lease, and were but an hour away, when Steven became seriously ill. They called to say that they would not be able to make the rest of the trip that night, and that they would have to miss opening morning.
Their son Luke has become a die-hard deer hunter, and was devastated that he was going to miss the day that had consumed our every thought for the past several months. We decided that Angel would bring him into camp, and he would hunt with me, until his family could arrive. Luke arrived in camp late that night, and we stayed up reminiscing about past hunts, and dreaming about what daylight might bring.
We finally fell asleep, and a mere 4 hours later, it was time to rise.
In the morning, Luke and I headed to the Marksberry blind, where he and his father usually hunt. We made the long walk and settled in for our hunt.
About 5 minutes after arriving, we could see deer moving around in the darkness. As daylight approached, I noticed a great deer in the opening in front of the blind. We watched and watched, and finally it got light enough to size up the buck: He was a beautiful 10-point, with a kicker off of each of his back tines. The buck was only 2 ½ years old, and we decided to let the beautiful 12-point walk.
Patience Pays Off
I could tell by the look on Luke’s face that he thought I was crazy, but he never said anything. About an hour later, after watching some young bucks, and lots of does, I caught movement to my left. It was a 3 1/2 year old buck, with an unusual looking rack.
The buck’s antlers sported four points on the left, and three on the right.
I whispered to Luke, “I want you to take this buck.” He checked out the deer with his binoculars, and was very pleased to take a shot at him. I told him to get his rifle up, as I got the video camera ready to film. The buck made his way out in front of us, and fed at about 100 yards.
Luke was settling in, and I was capturing it all on film. I asked Luke one more time, “Are you sure you want him”? “Oh yea!” Luke exclaimed.
About the time Luke was going to shoot, the buck took off after a doe. I told him to be patient; he would return.
Mere seconds later, the buck made his way back in. He turned broadside, and I told Luke to take him whenever he was ready. Boom! One shot from Luke’s trusty .243 dropped the buck in his tracks. Luke was so excited!
I captured the entire moment on film, and we recovered the buck. After several minutes of celebration, we got the deer ready for photos.
Later, Luke called his family, and they were all very proud of him. What a wonderful memory, and what a start to the 2008-2009 deer season.
Luke’s family arrived shortly after we got the buck to camp.
That afternoon, his father began to feel sick again, and was unable to go out for the hunt. I decided to take Luke back to the same blind, just to see what would happen. As we arrived at the blind, we spooked a small doe. We settled into our ground blind, and the wait began.
Targets of Opportunity
Soon we had a small buck, and three does in front of us. Suddenly, Luke let out a loud series of sneezes, and the deer headed for the hills! We sat there for about an hour with not another sighting of a deer.
Just as I began to wonder if we would see anything else, I caught movement. It was a large group of turkeys! Luke had never taken a turkey, and I asked him if he wanted to capitalize on the opportunity.
He answered with an assertive “Yes!”
The group of hens made their way out in front of us, and I told him to pick one out, and take the shot. Boom! The trusty old rifle again found its mark. We high-fived each other, and went to recover the beautiful bird.
It was hard to believe the great success he had experienced on the first day.
We headed back to camp and told the story time and time again. Luke was so happy, and thanked me a thousand times.
This weekend started out bad, but ended up outstanding. I really enjoyed hunting with Luke, and being his “guide” for the weekend. We had a lot of fun, and made memories that will last a lifetime.
As I sit writing this story, I am getting ready to head back for the next hunt. I can only hope that it will be as good, and full of memories, as this one was. This weekend was a perfect example of what deer hunting is all about.
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