By Danell Rosenauer
About the only “prenuptial” agreement my husband discussed with me before we married 22+ years ago, was that I would hunt with him on the first day of deer season in south Texas. I think he has missed only two openers in something like 50 years. One to attend a basketball game of our daughter’s and another to help get me delivered to the proper location to attend a church missions meeting in Dallas. That pretty well might give you a hint.
He is a SERIOUS deer hunter, with only family and church taking a higher priority (most days). Life Member, Dr. Johnnie Rosenauer, has been allowed to author numerous articles through the years for Texas Trophy Hunters Association (TTHA). Those nice folks have even allowed our 19-year-old daughter, Jessica, to have two articles in recent years about her hunting experiences. But this article is my first and is about something none of us expected.
The evening of November 30, 2013 found me sitting in a nice blind on a small Frio County place the Rosenauer family has owned since 1938. We have always had a “real” deer lease or two besides this family place that we call The Farm. Granddad Rosenauer harvested the first deer at The Farm in the late 60’s and populations have existed pretty much since then. We have “settled” into a long-term high-fenced lease not far away from The Farm so we can drive our tractor and equipment between the places in an hour or so. Much of our hunting has been done over at the high-fenced lease for 15+ years, but The Farm is a nice break and we use it some, depending on the wind conditions and sign. Not many deer stay on The Farm permanently. You might imagine who pays attention to such deer and hunting details at our house.
Our 15-year-old son, Corban, was with me that day. He and I enjoy our deer blind time together. We are a bit more “relaxed” than someone else in our household when it comes to the whole hunting experience thing; visiting and talking about whatever is on our minds that day. We were in the blind called the Pursch Palace, given that title for our long-time friend, John Pursch, who has hunted with my husband for 40+ years. John was not hunting that day and the wind was perfect for the location.
We first saw a middle age 8-point come weaving in and out of the brush towards the feeder. There were a few does around, but the buck kept moving around a good bit. I figured he was three or four years old and in texting Johnnie, he said to just enjoy watching him as he needed a few more years of age. It was pre-rut in south Texas and a buck that age was not yet willing to fully show himself long before dark.
In another hour or so, when it was getting pretty late, a buck came out nearly 400 yards away and was walking along the edge of a 100-foot sendero where we plant oats in when rain allows. The buck moved toward the feeder area but stayed in the brush. The grass had come back pretty tall after a September mowing due to good rains and the buck was hard to see clearly. Something about his horns looked odd, but until he got closer I could not figure it out.
I was having Corban text his dad to tell him the buck had a long drop tine! I could not believe it! Somehow the text came out, “We have a 17-point with a drop tine”. Johnnie immediately texted back, “SHOOT HIM!”
Only the really serious deer managers will understand the context of that short text. My husband is very strict about what age and quality of bucks we harvest on our places. He seeks great detail about the bucks we all see and, like many managers, has lots of pictures of deer to review and evaluate each year. So for him to simply say “SHOOT HIM” tells you how excited he was with such an animal before us. More on the “points thing” later.
I shoot a Model 700 in 7mm-08 and we call it Mom’s Sniper Rifle. It has been accurized and has a good Vari X 3 scope on it. I shoot the gun well and loved it from the first time I shot it. So much so that I told Johnnie he was going to have to buy something else ‘cause that one was mine. So he did just that and got a Model 70 Featherweight in the same caliber which Jessica promptly “claimed”. I guess he finally learned something because he recently bought a Nosler Model 48 Trophy Grade in 257 Roberts and gave it to Corban so he would not “lose” anymore guns. It is all in good fun, but he works hard to make sure our guns are well-cared-for and sighted in properly whenever we go hunt with him.
The buck was very coy and did not present himself for a clear shot for what seemed like an eternity. I knew that a shoulder shot was the order of the day for such a nice trophy. The distance was a bit over 100 yards when he finally squared up and stood still for a moment. This playing cat and mouse had worked me over in terms of my nerves. I dared not focus too much on the drop tine or the rest of the horns on his head. After the shot, which was a solid hit, the deer immediately dropped. Corban texted his Dad and said, “Mom is still shaking a lot”.
It was then that I had a moment to review the texts to and from, only to discover Corban had said 17-points. Two thoughts ran through my mind almost at the same time: One, Johnnie will know I could not count that many points so late in the day. Two, oh my goodness, he is going to think I thought this buck has 17 points!
It was not ten minutes before Johnnie pulled up in the truck. Johnnie had been hunting about half a mile away with one of Corban’s classmates, Ethan, who is new to hunting and very interested in learning. Of course Johnnie is a firm believer in teaching sound game management whenever and to whoever he can. They had hurried over after walking to the vehicle.
Well as it turned out, the buck was not a 17-point. We are still not sure how Corban got that number in his head, but he is a 15-year-old teenager after all. None the less, the buck was a great looking 9-point and my husband was delighted for me. The buck carried G1’s that are 5.5 and 6 inches long with his G 2’s and G 3’s all being 8-10 inches long. His drop measured out at over 6.5 inches, coming off his right main beam. He is going to look really good in our vaulted ceiling living room along with some of our other special trophies.
The weird part of this story is that we have NEVER seen any hint of a drop tine characteristic at The Farm before. Johnnie has been responsible for the game management out there since 1976 and this was a big surprise to all of us. In going back through the 2013 early fall deer pictures, we do have one shot of this guy as part of a bachelor club group. It is not a good picture of him and we had failed to notice the drop, thinking it was part of the brush in the background of the picture.
So, my story is a good reminder – when it comes to deer hunting, you just never know what might walk out of the brush! Or what text might come from the mind of a 15-year-old.
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