Deer Hunting in Southwest Louisiana
Garrett scores a buck
My 13-year-old son, Garrett, and I were full of hope when we headed to hunt with Jean Fairchild (my father-in-law) in the Spanish Lake swamps near St. Gabriel this morning. The weather was perfect, and the bucks in that area have been seen chasing does.
Garrett headed into the woods with his grandfather, while I slogged to a stand down the way, as the outline of trees could just be seen.
About 7 a.m., I watched a couple of does slip by. One was a big old nanny, with sagging back and belly. Alas, the club doesn't have doe tags, so I couldn't shoot. I settled back and waited for a big boy to walk by. It never happened.
However, Garrett and Mr. Jean were having better luck. They saw several does, and just after 9 a.m., a shot rang out.
Garrett said they looked up and saw a couple of deer crossing one of the shooting lanes (the place is lousy with palmettos, so lanes are essential). He at first thought they were does, but Mr. Jean spotted the antlers on the trailing deer. It wasn't a beastly buck, but Mr. Jean lined Garrett up on the next shooting lane in anticipation of the deer crossing it. Long seconds ticked by without another sign of the two deer. They had vanished in the palmettos.
And then Mr. Jean looked back at the shooting lane the deer originally crossed, and the buck was trotting toward the stand. He quickly got Garrett set up, and the deer stopped about 25 yards from the stand. It was looking straight toward the hunter's tree.
Garrett frantically searched for the deer in the scope, but just as he lined up, the buck hopped back into the palmettos.
Mr. Jean grabbed the rifle, moved it to the next shooting lane. When the buck's head popped out of the palmettos, he sang out with a 'baaa,' but the buck didn't react. The second, louder call stopped the deer in its tracks -- right in the middle of the lane.
Garrett was again searching through the scope, as the buck stood there looking for the source of the call. Finally, he squeezed the trigger, and the buck kicked and ran about 20 yards through the swamp.
We let Garrett trail the buck, and lagged behind grinning at each other as he pointed out the blood trail. Soon, he was standing over the deer, which apparently had run headlong into a tree. The tree was lodged between the rack's main beams. Craziest thing I've ever seen.
Garrett didn't pause to take the scene in long, however. He pryed the antlers from the tree and counted the points.
'It's an 8-point,' he cried. 'Alright!'
The deer was a 1 1/2-year-old, but you wouldn't know it by Garrett's big grin. He was puffed up all morning long.
But I'm not sure he was any happier than me or his grandfather. We both strutted around the camp, as a couple of the other members congratulated Garrett on his success.
Hunting trophies is fun, but nothing compares to the simple kid's joy over killing a deer.