certain that Bayou Bill's friends will now
tremendous, stupendous, and wow!
tip their hats and bow
his bagging a great big deer . . . and a cow.
The above poem was penned by Pat Newforth, primary advisor for this
column and manager of my web page. But to help you understand the undertones
of her poetic gem, I must fill in some details.
On the first Friday of the firearms deer season, I bagged a beautiful
white-tail buck to which I shall henceforth refer to as a 10-pointer, although
I realistically calculate the rack actually is only a "six-and-seven-eights,"
roughly the size of my cap which may increase as I realize the import of
my hunting feat.
That's right, five beautiful points on the right side, but the main
beam, brow tine, and some of the others were not-so-curiously merely stubs
on the left side.
But 10-pointer, or 6 7/8 (six-and-seven-eights), my prize was a huge
deer (indubitably the largest I have ever seen on the hoof). Circumstances
would not allow an actual weigh-in, but Tom Waitt, owner of Dandy Breeze
Dairy Farm (that's Jersey cows, ponder), estimated a weight of greater
than 250 pounds. He ought to know, because he had to have help from his
son, Luke, and a wiry neighbor to move my deer 30 yards and into his pickup
Perhaps I should point out that I had never bagged what many hunters
would consider a trophy deer. My top deer-rack trophy (a beautiful eight-point
typical) was taken during the spring morel season to clean up some poacher's
aborted, unlawful hunt in the previous winter. I do not keep my eyes peeled
for big racks, but rather scrumptious-looking bodies. In my old iron skillet,
every deer I take is a trophy.
To add another intriguing element to my story, I firmly believe I "rattled-up"
this monster buck. His warring propensities (he undoubtedly had lost those
right-side tines in territorial battles with other bucks) played a big
part in my success after I "blew" three shots at a broadside target.
Let me set the stage for a further explanation.
It is 5:25 p.m. and the sun, like a gigantic red ball, is settling below
the tree line to the west. This, and the disappearance of the old walnut
tree's shadow, tells me I have another half hour to hunt. Five minutes
later, I take the antlers from the side of the big walnut (12 feet above
the ground) and try to simulate a territorial squabble between two bucks
by banging (rattling and scraping) the antlers together. Then I hang the
antlers up again by the strong cord that usually suspends them around my
I give myself another 10 minutes to remain in my stand with the hope
of seeing my first deer of the season. I have spent a good part of four
other afternoons in my stand.
Depending now on my watch for time (the shadows are completely immersed
in the gathering dusk), at 12 minutes past sunset I unbuckle my safety
strap and think seriously about turning around to face the big walnut and
back down the ladder to the ground.
But just before I move, I see this huge buck moving slowly into an open
area, frantically looking about for those interloping bucks that dared
to do battle in his area for the right to visit his harem.
The light is not good and the iron sights are not so sharp as usual,
but I line up the sights and put that copper-tipped front sight on a spot
just behind the left shoulder. I squeeze off a shot and expect to see the
deer fall, like all of the others I have shot at with that gun in the past.
The deer does not fall, and I expect him to hightail it out of the area.
Instead, he moves 10 feet to the west and continues to look for his potential
Bam! Another shot, and then another. But the deer does not fall. He
moves further to the west as I sit there frustrated with an empty gun,
and the nagging knowledge that I could miss after many consecutive one-shot
He stops behind some brush. I know I have missed my big opportunity.
But he still searches the area for his suitors, and I think he is coming
through an opening in the brush to jump a small creek and a low fence.
This will bring him within 35 or 40 yards, as good as point-blank.
I fish another big red firecracker from the back pocket of my insulated
coveralls and ease it into the chamber of the Remington 1100, allowing
the bolt to ease closed with only a minor scraping noise.
I wait several seconds for my prize to come closer in search of those
pugnacious interlopers, but he is starting to show signs of suspicion.
I know I must take my last shot.
There are fine twigs between us, but I level on the head and squeeze.
The deer drops in his tracks, dead before he hit the ground.
To put another interesting wrinkle into my near miss trophy hunting
success, a few years back Tom used to tell me about a huge phantom buck
that ranged the area with a huge antler . . . on one side.
If there could be a hereditary connection between that phantom and my
very-real deer, it could well be that I got the phantom's get.
So now about that cow? I did it. I shot a cow, but not by mistake.
On the previous afternoon, I am sitting in my deer stand just before
sunset and hear four or five loud shotgun blasts that are very close.
Thinking some other hunter had scored from my other nearby stand, and
knowing that further hunting efforts probably would be hopeless, I climb
down from my stand to investigate.
It turns out that my farmer friend and a neighbor are trying to kill
a maverick Angus cow from a neighboring farm. But they have run out of
ammunition for a .410 shotgun and the beautiful (though destructive) cow
is very much alive, not to mention angry.
A single shot from my 1100 puts her down and she is carted off to be
turned into Grade AA table fare.
While I had not yet seen a deer, I had bagged a cow with a single shot
to turn the standard hunter joke into reality.
five-point shot of the right antlers illustrates the enormity of the deer.
View right antlers.
View head photo.
Pratt, of Pratt Taxidermy at Lebanon, removes the rack from my big Boone