Big Deer with Little Horns  

By Dr. Johnnie Rosenauer

The only prenuptial agreement my bride agreed to before our marriage nearly 3 decades ago was that she would try hard to hunt with me on the opening weekend of each deer season.  We did not fret too much about what was hers and what was mine before we joined up, but that one clause mattered to me.  I think she has only missed 3 or 4 over the years.  That included the 2017 season opener because she was up in Oklahoma dealing with her 90-year-old mother’s fall and subsequent broken hip.  But Grandmother is recovering well now and the Lady Danell went out to our 25+ year high fenced lease the afternoon of the 3rd Saturday with me.

We sat about ¼ mile apart on a long pipeline that runs through numerous ranches.  It is 80+ feet wide and a good travel road and sendero.  We have food plots and a feeder at both locations.  The wind was high but favorable to sit at those spots and we got all settled in before spooking any wildlife off.

She had a doe with a still nursing fawn come out and I had a good looking 2.5-year-old 8-point that showed lots of promise in front of me before the feeder went off. A text came from the other blind saying a big buck with little horns was standing just inside the tree line behind the feeder.  I responded back to sit still and make certain he was exactly that… a mature buck with under average headgear.

Sure enough that is what she confirmed a few minutes later, and I encouraged her to make the shot. About that same time my little buck was sure getting nervous, staring over into the thick brush from the same direction he came.

Danell fired and then reported the buck dropped in his tracks.  I responded with congratulations and said I planned to sit there a spell longer and see what was making that young deer so spooky.  Sure enough, out walked a fully mature 10-point that got my attention.  He carried decent width, with good tine length and mass.  My “Aggie Guesstimate Calculator” would put him in the upper 150’s to lower 160’s Boone and Crockett score.

I watched him for maybe 10 minutes and then slipped out and made it quietly to the truck.  Driving the “long way” around, I went over to my wife and her buck.  He was just what she reported… a 6-year-old with not much of a set of horns.  I had tried to harvest this guy last year and failed to see him during buck season.

We pushed and pulled and with the help from a winch on my truck managed to get that big bruiser loaded.  He was as fat as a grain-fed steer and not one bit “stinky” like he would have been in a few more weeks.  Even after cutting out multiple pounds of fat in order to cleanly field dress him, the deer weighed just under 150 pounds at the processer.  The buck I left feeding at my spot was the same size or a bit larger.

In reviewing the events of the day later on with our daughter, a fine huntress in her own right with 3 national magazine articles about bucks she has harvested, Jessica asked why I did not shoot that big 10.  My answer was partly based on stewardship to be sure as I want that dude to breed this year.  But it was also based on being well into my 6th decade on this earth.  I reminded her of our ages (her mom and me), and said one buck that size was all the energy we had in us for one afternoon!

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