Over the years, I’ve done my fair share of guiding whitetail deer hunters. I will write to re-tell some of my funniest stories sometime. However, the purpose of this novel today is to hopefully impress upon anyone that is going on a guided hunt to listen to their guide.
I’m currently filling in as a guide when needed on a Hill Country property—game fenced probably 1,200 acres and the deer are WILD. True, some of the deer can be easily patterned and routinely appear at certain blinds/feeders, but when the rut is kicking in such as now (November 14th), all bets are off. Old bucks are restless and active.
This particular ranch has the majority of mature bucks in the 125-135 gross Boone and Crockett scoring system range. There are a few that creep up to the 140-150 range. Perhaps one or two will be as high as 160+.
A company has the ranch leased for employees and business clients. On select weekends, two to as many of eight hunters hit the property for a three-day hunt. All hunters have marching orders they can take a mature buck ranging from 120 to 160 B&C. These hunters all have a guide since the ranch policy is to NEVER turn the general public loose. When I greet the hunters at the camp house as they are unloading their gear, the common phrase uttered from the hunter is, “I’m here to take a 160 class buck!”
On my last hunt, I was guiding a man from southern Louisiana. The largest buck he has ever taken was an 8-pointer that was the size of you holding your hands in the form of antlers and your thumbs touching. When I told the guy those 160 class bucks are far and few between, it did not matter.
The very first hunt we had a wide 9-point show up. He really stood out for the width of his antlers. Like most wide antlered deer, the tine length was short so the deer would not score high. Our conversation went like this:
“Hey. Check out that guy approaching from the east. He’s wide.”
The hunter had binoculars glued to his head and was starting to breathe heavy. “Wow, that’s the widest buck I’ve ever seen!”
“All I can say is you will not see a wider deer on this ranch.”
“What will it score? “
“It will not score high because of short tines. Width is outstanding and beam length will be good but short tines will dampen the score. My guess is 120 or slightly higher. If I miss on a score it is usually on the low end.”
“I think I’ll pass.”
“I recommend shooting. Hunting conditions are horrible now. Full moon, hot and dusty, plus a record live oak acorn crop have most deer laid up all day. Movement is slow and the deer are not coming to corn well. Odds are stacked against you. Better look again.”
“I will hold out for something better.”
“You may regret it but we’ll keep after them and try our best.”
We hunted two more days and never saw a mature buck close to this one. Two other hunters went to that blind and the buck never showed up. My hunter went home empty handed when he could have had a 9 point buck with outside spread between 22-24”. Keep in mind the largest buck he has ever taken had about a 13” spread.
Please re-read the title of this story.
See photo of buck.