Like father, like son

November was a good month for the Moreland clan

It is probably a fact that most dads want their sons to enjoy the same activities in which they participated growing up. It is also a fact that some dads can go overboard and push their kids a little too much to make this happen.

My dad exposed his three children to hunting and fishing; my older brother wasn’t too interested in these outdoor sports, but I couldn’t get enough. So, like father like son, I exposed our three children to hunting and fishing and all things wild.

Our oldest son Andy didn’t care for hunting, but he likes catching fish. He lives in North Carolina, and made a short trip home a few weeks back and I worked in a day of fishing for him.

I wanted to take him to the lakes in Desoto Parish but did not have time, so instead I took him to a pond in Clinton. He really enjoys catching bream, but on this day he wound up catching a good mess of bass that I promptly cleaned and fried before he left town.

Our daughter Sarah enjoys the outdoors, and loves living in rural East Feliciana Parish with her husband and their three young sons. I look forward to teaching them what I know about the outdoors, and perhaps I will celebrate their first deer or turkey. Their dad already has them catching fish.

Our youngest son, Ruffin, is a hunter just like me. He works at Bowie Outfitters selling guns, and he really enjoys his work. We have been hunting together since he was in diapers.

However, now that he is a working man and has other responsibilities we do not get to hunt too much together. Like Dad, he enjoys the primitive season.

My wife and I have been involved with selling our house in Baton Rouge and settling on our Clinton property and I haven’t had much time for hunting. During the primitive season week Ruffin helped me move a load of furniture; we were going to make an evening hunt, but it took a little longer than expected so I sent him off to the deer stand with my .444.

I had told them that if he killed I would help him clean it.

It was an hour after dark and I had not heard from him so I gave him a call, and he said he was on his way with a deer.

He arrived, and we began the process of cleaning. It was a cold night, and I said we would just gut it and let it hang from the tractor shed overnight and I would finish the chore in the morning.

He said the doe had come out an hour before dark and was quartering toward him when he shot. The entrance hole was good, but the bullet angled through the stomach, and most of the bleeding was on the inside. He said there wasn’t really a blood trail and our friend McElroy happened upon the deer when they were looking for it.

I was ribbing him a little about having to clean his messy deer and he was giving it back, saying, “I guess you never hit the guts of a deer.”

It was a nice 1 ½-year-old doe, and he was excited about being able to share the meat with his friends. It did my heart good to hear him talking about sharing because Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks and sharing what we have been blessed with.

I had been blessed a few weeks earlier when I went up to Bossier Parish to hunt with my friend Ken Mason. It was an absolutely fantastic weekend; the Area 2 rut was cranking up and, to top it off ,a cold front had just entered the state and brought the type of weather needed to get the deer stirred up and moving.

There were six bucks that I am aware of killed on that Saturday morning, and the next morning I connected with a fine 6 ½-year-old 10-pointer that weighed right at 200 pounds. The rut was definitely on, because the buck was following closely behind a doe. It was a great way to start the 2014 season.

Our Area 4 gun season opened on Nov. 15, but our daughter had scheduled two of her boys’ birthday party for noon on that day. My son-in-law and I went off for a quick hunt that morning.

I had not been seeing much deer activity on our property but that day before a 7-point and a spike showed up at the feeder on the big food plot. I told my son-in-law to go hunt there while I hunted the turkey strip on the east line. I heard a couple of shots off in the distance early, and at 6:40 saw movement to my left.

Something had just moved through the turkey strip; the binoculars told me it was a deer. Opening day for us was either-sex, but I wasn’t sure I would shoot a doe. Grabbing the rifle, I focused the scope on the head and I could see it was a small spike that I wasn’t going to shoot. I set the rifle down and watched the deer disappear into the woods.

But in a few minutes another deer came running up the strip where the spike had crossed and I could see antlers. Once more I picked up the rifle and, seeing it was an adult buck, aimed and fired.

The buck was still moving when I shot; it jumped and took off on a dead run on the woods trail that I had bush-hogged in late summer. I left the ground blind and went to the scene, but found no blood. Walking up the woods road, I still found no blood, but up ahead of me was a dead deer.

We have had this property for eight years, and this is the first deer I have killed on it. It was an exciting moment that made me feel my management efforts have not gone in vain.

The buck was 2 ½ years old, around 150 pounds and had 7 points. It was the same buck the trail camera had photographed the day before. No doubt the spike was the same one, also.

The tarsal glands on this buck were black as coal and a positive sign that he was thinking about does. I am not sure if the deer on this property have the Area 2 genetics like other deer in this portion of East Feliciana, but it seems our rut is a little earlier than what is typical for Area 4.

It is interesting that last year we did not have any buck photos until mid November, and then a few bucks showed up and disappeared and then came back in mid-December. Looks like it is going to happen again.

I took the buck back to Camp David and began the cleaning process. There was no blood trail because all the blood was on the inside and, just like Ruffin’s doe, was a little messy (like father like son).

I can tell you that both deer had been eating white oak acorns.

Yep, I have two chips off the old block! I have been blessed. Happy holidays, and hope 2015 will be a good one for you.

About David Moreland 243 Articles
David Moreland is a retired wildlife biologist with LDWF, having served as the State Deer Biologist for 13 years and as Chief of the Wildlife Division for three years. He and his wife Prudy live in rural East Feliciana Parish.

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