There are a lot of memory maker activities for fathers and sons, but for deer hunters, it’s hard to top it when both kill a trophy buck just weeks apart. That’s what happened for Baton Rouge physician Dr. Henry Barham and his son, Henry (“H2”). And when you can do it on your family’s old home place around the holidays, it’s even more special.
Let’s just get straight to the end of the story first. The first big buck fell to young “H2” and it was a beast. It was an 11-point weighing 310 pounds and scored 151 3/8 at Simmons’ Sporting Goods, putting him in the lead of the Youth Division at the store’s big buck contest. Then came Dr. Barham’s turn. He killed a 10-point that weighed 295 pounds and scored 145 6/8. And as you can imagine, he says H2 reminds dad almost daily of who killed the biggest one.
Patience pays off
The Barhams had been monitoring several good deer on game cameras around their Oak Ridge property for weeks. They decided to give H2 the first shot, so at the first opportunity, they made their way north to Morehouse Parish and a boxstand on the corner of the woods and a corn field across from a thicket. A few deer started showing up about 4:30 p.m. including a couple of bucks. H2 grew impatient and wanted to shoot, but they waited for a big one. Finally, about 6:15, Dr. Barham saw the big one easing out of the woods.
“I didn’t even have to get my binoculars. I knew it was one of the big bucks we had been seeing,” Dr. Barham said. “I told Henry to get ready, that we have a shooter coming. It was about 170 yards away and even though it was hard, we tried to get the deer closer. I gave a little whistle and he was curious and started walking our way. It really got hard because he never turned broadside. The deer got right up to 50 yards away and finally turned perfectly. I told Henry to take a deep breath, focus and shoot. He was already on the deer. Within a second, the gun went off.”
Retrieving the buck
Things got tough then. The huge deer didn’t go down easily and left almost no blood trail. After searching for an hour in the woods and the edge of the cornfield, which had been harvested much earlier, but had thick secondary growth by now. H2 started getting frustrated that maybe he had missed, but they didn’t give up.
“Mr. Charles Lee Greer and his grandson, Wyatt, had been hunting nearby and they came to help us,” Dr. Barham said. “We finally jumped the deer up in a thicket and it was obvious the shot had gone through and through, explaining why there was no real blood trail.”
They had to shoot the buck again and it jumped a big canal, but finally went down. It took some doing to get the big deer out, but it was so exciting, no one cared.
Ironically, the next hunt on Nov. 20 was one with several of H2’s friends and their dads. He had postponed his birthday party from August until November so everybody could come to the camp and hunt together. But after a late night of pizza and story telling and a short night of sleep, the next morning they all went duck hunting. Then that afternoon, it was dad that got the big present.
Going for two
Unlike the earlier big deer, Dr. Barham’s trophy showed up much earlier in the afternoon and went down easily, allowing them to back the truck right up to the shooting lane and load the deer.
“We sat for about an hour and started seeing two groups of does a long way off,” Dr. Barham said. “H2 was watching them through the binoculars when I saw something out of the corner of my eye on the woodline. It was a pretty good sized spike and a huge 10-point just about 30 yards away I had been seeing on camera since before the season. I got ready. He was walking straight towards the stand and I was afraid he would scent us. I shot him 22 steps from the stand. He ran about 10 yards and fell.”
Dr. Barham said H2 was so excited he bounded out of the stand and went to check the deer out. At that point, Dr. Barham was pretty excited, too.
“It may be hard to believe, but that is the first buck I’ve every shot in Louisiana,” he said. “I’ve shot some does to help manage the herd and killed bucks out in Texas, but this is my first in the state and on our old home place’s hunting club. I looked down at my watch and it was just after 4 p.m. There were other folks hunting, so Henry and I just loaded up the big deer, which was a chore, and we went up to the farm and waited for everyone else. It was the only deer killed that day. It’s been a good season for us. There’s been a lot of yelling and hugging and high fives. It’s something neither of us will ever forget.”
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