"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
About Bayou Bill
Recent Rambles
DNR Doings
Wild Recipes



Bayou Bill Bags Big Buck 
Copyright © 2003 by Bill Scifres
It's certain that Bayou Bill's friends will now
Exclaim tremendous, stupendous, and wow!
Even tip their hats and bow
To 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 truck.

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 neck. 

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 competition.

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 kills.

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.

This five-point shot of the right antlers illustrates the enormity of the deer.
View right antlers.
View head photo.
Don Pratt, of Pratt Taxidermy at Lebanon, removes the rack from my big Boone County buck.

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

 Return to beginning of document
Return to Bayou Bill's Home Page