As all Texas residents know, 2011 was a DRY year! There were no pecans or acorns in my area, and trying to grow a food plot was out of the question, unless somebody had found a species of cactus that appeals to whitetail deer. Even the ponds and stock tanks were dry, or close to it. I keep an old 151 quart igloo cooler that served time as a fish box on my offshore boat in the back of my property as a watering station for wildlife, but with no rain, my only option was to haul water to it. This I did all summer and into the fall, and my game cameras showed several does and yearling deer using it regularly. Then a big buck began to show up. For Brazoria County, he appeared to be a very nice one that probably did not need to be measured for legality. I “watched” this buck for some time, in pictures, but did not dare think I’d actually get a shot at him. The Saturday before deer season opened I drove up to the water “trough” in my golf cart and saw something brown lying beside it – which turned out to be the big buck! This was at 1:30 PM. The igloo was empty, and I wondered if the deer had been waiting for me to arrive to fill it up? He did give me an expectant look before jumping the back fence and bounding away. I saw no more pictures of either that buck or any other deer after that, and was afraid I had spooked them away.
Four days into the season, I got a slow start to my morning hunt, not really expecting to see much. Arriving at my stand around 10:30 AM, I took my time getting ready – opening the front window and laying out what I needed for the morning. I had not had time to even light my morning cigar when I raised my rifle and looked through the scope to check the focus – and saw the big buck looking in my general direction from no more than 75 yards away. That particular stand has been in place for several years, and is well camouflaged, but the window being open may have gotten his attention. As I watched him through the scope, he came even closer, then stood facing me as if about to turn and go to the water. I hit him in the left (his left, my right) side of the neck, and he crumpled in his tracks as the 130gr, .270 bullet did it’s job.
I am by no means an expert on measuring racks, but my efforts with the tape showed a “score”of 122. The 8-point rack has good mass and fairly tall tines, but appears to have skipped brow tines. None of the deer “experts” I’ve shown it to can tell me for sure if it lacks brow times, or has a set that are 7 inches long, – but I am voting that they were missing. When I called Gotcher’s Taxidermy in Brazoria about a shoulder mount, he told me he thought one of the justifications for mounting a head that was not of record class was if you took it on your own property. I fully agree, and I am very proud of my “waterbuck”. I worked for that deer, and I earned him.
By the way, I started hauling water to the big igloo a few days ago. It hasn’t been as dry this year, but why change what works?
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