John is now attending college at Mississippi State and will be a Sophomore this coming fall. His Grandpa Bob and I are so proud of his accomplishments. Way to go John!
It was an unusually hot opening weekend; one of the warmest that I can remember; lows in the 50's highs close to 80. Opening morning we saw two small does and 5 gobblers (4 long beards, one Jake). That afternoon we went to 46 and were bomb barded by ~500 ladybugs, so we left there and went to 38; didn't see a deer (too hot). The next morning I asked John where he wanted to hunt, and he said 3, so that is where we went.
We got to the stand probably 15 minutes before light. Just when it started breaking light, I saw a white tail sticking up. I told John that I see a deer, but I could not tell what it was. I saw the white tail one more time, but the weeds were too high, so I was never able to tell what that deer was. Shortly after it broke light, a big ole doe came out. I grunted at her and she stopped right out in the middle of an opening. John got his gun, but he was not able to see the deer. He was trying to find the deer in the scope, so I told him to find the doe with his eyes before he looked through the scope. The doe took a few steps before John spotted her, but by then she had made it safely to some cover.
I immediately looked behind me, and I saw a buck coming up out of the bottom. I asked John to let me have his gun so I could see how big he was. I knew immediately that the buck was big enough to shoot, so I told John that he was a shooter, and we switched chair positions. I grunted at the buck and stopped him in an opening broadside. I grabbed my video camera and started videoing the buck. John could not find the buck in his scope at first, so I told him to look over the top of the scope and find the buck with his eyes, and then find him in the scope. John found the buck then, so I told him to slowly squeeze the trigger and shoot when he was ready.
John said that he was too far; the scope was on 4 power, so I cranked it up some, and John said that was better. I was concentrating on keeping the camera steady when John said that he was scared and that he could not keep the gun steady. John asked if I would hold the gun steady. I put my camera down and reached over and put my hand on the scope to try and steady the gun. John was still having trouble keeping the gun steady, and I didn't know if I was helping him or making it worse, so I took my hand off the scope and grabbed my video camera again. The buck then reached back and licked himself, and that is when I saw what kind of rack he had. He had some long G2 tines and good beam length, and I asked John if he wanted me to shoot him. John said no. The buck looked forward, and started to walk off, so I grunted again to stop him. The buck looked right at us. John said that he couldn't keep the gun steady, and when I looked over at him he had his head down looking at the floor of the stand. I realized then that maybe his chair was a little to low for him to hold the gun steady, so with the buck looking dead at us, I moved John up and I moved over to his chair and sat him in my lap. John said that was better, but he still couldn't keep the gun steady, so I reached around him and put my hand on the scope to help steady the gun. I told him to concentrate with the cross hairs on the shoulder and slowly squeeze the trigger. John shot, and the buck lunged forward with his right front leg not moving; I knew he was hit hard, and he ran over a slight ridge and into a little depression. I felt the deer had gone down, but I wasn't sure if he had made it to the bottom he had come out of. I set my compass to where the buck was standing when John shot, and told him that it would help us find exactly where the buck was standing because the woods look different when you are on the ground. We both walked over there, and John said this is where the buck was standing, I told him no it is over here to the right. I just new I was going to walk up on the deer any second, but I couldn't find any blood, and I could find the buck piled up like I had expected. I was so excited/nervous that I couldn't concentrate on finding blood, I was just looking for the deer. I then replayed the video, and noticed a leaning tree just to the right of the buck, but I could not find the leaning tree where I thought the buck had been standing when John shot.
I told John that I was going to have to go back to the stand to see if I could see the leaning tree. Sure enough when I got back to the stand I could see the leaning tree, and realized that I had set my compass wrong. I set it on a small opening to the right of where the deer was standing, and I noted that John was right when he said that this is where the buck was standing. I told John that he was right, and he beamed back with a smile. We found one pin drop of blood, and I noticed that some overturned leaves where the buck had gone over a slight ridge. I had John lead while I videotaped him. He walked up the small ridge and there he laid. I asked him how may points he had, and he said 8, I said boy you better count again, so he did. John's first buck was a 10 point with 191/2 inch beams, 9 inch G2's, 8 inch G3's, 13 inch spread, and 190 lbs (scored 128 4/8).
Dad: Greg Phillips