Larry Porter-Greenfield, TN
It was a hot November day in west Tennessee, not a day that you would think much about deer hunting. The mosquitos were out and it was about 80 degrees on a bright sunny day. But I had two hours before my 13 year old daughter's basketball game and I was itching to go deer hunting.
Most people hunt for food here and with all the hunting pressure a deer rarely lives past his second birthday. Finding a Boone & Crockett trophy deer in Weakley County is like finding a needle in a haystack. As I waited for my daughter to get home so we could shoot some free throws before the big game tonight I couldn't help but think about deer hunting. My daughter arrived home after what she called a hard day and said she just wanted to just rest this afternoon and for me to go on and go deer hunting.
I had joined a deer hunting club this year with some of my buddies and this would be my first time to hunt this new property. I went by and picked up my son's muzzleloader and got my mosquito spray and off I went as it was only ten minutes from the house. I thought this could be as much of a scouting trip as a hunting trip since I knew nothing about the farm I was about to hunt.
I am a handicap hunter and if it wasn't for my trusty Honda 4 wheeler getting me to and from the field I would have had to give up hunting 25 years ago when I had a massive stroke. I was very blessed that over time I have regained almost everything except the use of my legs and I can get around with the use of a cane. But through the help of my family and friends and the grace of God I haven't missed a beat in my love for hunting and fishing.
As I got to the field I grabbed my muzzleloader, my fanny pack, my doe in rut scent and my grunt call. It was 4:00 pm and I had an hour and a half to hunt. I always carry a drag rag doused with doe in rut scent behind my 4 wheeler to help cover my scent and also to attract bucks. I could see a nice big tree stand of one of my friends from the road that I thought might be a good spot as it was overlooking a bean field in the river bottom. I rode my 4 wheeler dragging my drag rag along the edge of the beanfield and parked in the bushes behind the deer stand.
I tried my best to get up in the stand but it just wasn't going to happen as I almost fell out trying to get situated. So I climbed down and fixed me a comfortable spot under the deer stand and leaned my muzzleloader against the first step of the ladder. As I peered through the ladder I could see the cars and trucks going by quite often down the highway. The thought ran through my mind that I'm just wasting my time but I told myself let's just enjoy being out in the woods and sit here until dark.
I've always thought the best way to deer hunt was just to be quiet and sit still and let the deer come to you. An hour went by and all I'd seen were two squirrels. With no deer activity I decided it couldn't hurt anything to try my old grunt call. I could still smell the scent of doe in rut on my fingertips from earlier while putting it on my drag rag. I'm not a professional grunter by any means but I grunted a few short grunts.
What happened next left me is disbelief as in my 40 years of hunting I've never seen anything like it. This monster buck bolted from a thicket looking for a fight or at least to protect his territory and he was heading right at me across the open bean field in full view. It happened so quick that when the buck stopped he was at 75 yards but I hadn't even had time to even get my gun ready. I have a scope on my muzzleloader but it didnt take any kind of optics to tell this boy was a shooter.
I managed to get my gun up and get my sights on him but he started walking again looking for the other buck. His hair was all bristled and his ears laid back as though he was ready to fight. When he stopped at 60 yards I pulled the trigger and I couldn't see a thing for a couple seconds. When the smoke cleared all I could see was antlers, big antlers like I've never seen before. I waited 10 minutes to be sure he wasn't going to run off and that was the longest 10 minutes of my life.
At 5:10 I got on my 4 wheeler and rode up to him he had 13 points and some of the longest points that I've ever seen. He had mule deer forks on both sides and drop tines on both sides. The deer had a 22 inch spread and weighed 175 pounds. It was the nicest deer that I've ever seen in my lifetime.
I've never been a big believer in using a grunt call but after this hunt I will never be caught without it ever again. There's no doubt the combination of my deer scent and a grunt call did the trick on this old buck. Looking back on my deer hunt now a week later I almost didn't even go deer hunting on that lucky day. Had my daughter wanted to shoot basketball then I would never have gone deer hunting. Also I had those thoughts of "its just too hot and the deer won't be moving." Then after I did go hunting I almost talked myself into leaving early. So the bottom line is if you get a chance to go deer hunting you better go, you never know what's going to happen. I have hunted for 40 years and spent thousands of hours in the field but you just never know when its going to happen. Its kind of like that old saying "A bad day of hunting is still better than a good day at work."