When you get on your stand before daylight without breakfast, you get hungry in an hour or so, especially if you're a 7 year old boy. Thirty eight year old Ryon Walker who lives in Homer found himself in exactly that situation Saturday November 30 while hunting with his son, Caleb, on a 100 acre pine forest plot in Claiborne Parish.
"Caleb got hungry and I put him off as long as I could because all I had was Wheat Thins and to reach for and handle these crispy snacks would likely create noise that could spook any deer in the area. I finally gave in to Caleb's protests and as I reached for the Wheat Thins in my pack, I saw something in the brush near the feeder that didn't look right. It was a deer looking directly at us," Walker said.
Walker whispered to his son that he was seeing a deer but Caleb scoffed at his dad. After all, they'd hunted this particular tract of land for the past two years and had seen exactly one deer, a doe last season.
"When the deer took a couple of steps from the brush and started eating corn around the feeder which sat 80 yards from our ladder stand, Caleb's eyes got as big as saucers when he saw the rack," Walker continued.
Walker, who is an assistant professor specializing in beef cattle research at the Hill Farm Research Station at the LSU AgCenter in Homer, whispered to Caleb to cover his ears as he was about to take a shot at the deer.
"I should have told Caleb to ease his hands to his ears because when he covered them, he jerked his hands up and the buck stopped feeding and looked directly at us. I knew I had to take the shot because he was about to take off," said Walker.
The buck was facing the couple almost dead on, slightly quartering and not giving Walker a broadside target but because the buck was on high alert, Walker felt he needed to do something immediately.
He centered the crosshairs of his 7 mm mag in the center of his chest, touched the trigger and the buck dropped in his tracks.
"Caleb and I sat in the stand with our binoculars for a few minutes just admiring the big buck there on the ground. I didn't know how big he was but I could see antlers sticking up really high above his head even at this distance. When we got down and walked up to him, it was like he just kept getting bigger and bigger," Walker added.
The buck was indeed a dandy. It sported a main frame 10 point rack with an extra sticker making it officially an 11 point buck. Inside spread was 18 inches with main beams stretching to near 25 inches each. The G-2s were indeed impressive with one measuring 12 inches and the other a saber-like 14 inches. Bases were almost 5 inches each.
"I didn't have access to scales but I estimate the deer's weight at around 200 pounds. I checked his jaw bone and teeth and determined the buck was probably either 5 ½ or 6 ½ years old. I put the tape on him and unofficially, I came up with a score of 172 inches," said Walker.
Okay, so you go two seasons of hunting deer with your young son and you're only able to give him a glimpse of just one deer, a doe, until last week when you put the crosshairs on the buck of a lifetime.
If I were Ryon Walker, I'd give Caleb a whole pack of Wheat Thins to enjoy to his heart's content, crunching and munching all he wants.
Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.