Connor’s Caldwell County Buck
August 8, 2018
Editorial Staff (256 articles)
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Connor’s Caldwell County Buck

By Todd Malone

On a Sunday afternoon, Nov. 19, 2017, we left Austin, Texas, around noon and made a couple of stops in Lockhart before heading to the family ranch near Luling. We were headed there for a one-day father-and-son outing.

We planned on potentially going hunting that Sunday afternoon and hanging out and relaxing Sunday night and Monday before returning to Austin late Monday afternoon. Once we arrived at the ranch we unloaded the truck and got ready for our 24-hour stay.

Connor enjoys the great outdoors, but is not an avid hunter. At 16 years old, he has never shot a hog or deer.

Most of the time Connor enjoys sitting in the blind with me or his brother, and would prefer if someone else does the shooting. He enjoys his time in the blind, but does not find it important that he needs to be the one shooting.

After getting the UTV ready with hunting gear for the afternoon hunt, we decided to pass some time playing a game of darts. After finishing up the dart game we decided to go to the blind at about 3:15 p.m.

We parked and walked to our blind that overlooks a pecan tree bottom with very tall Johnson grass that’s next to a creek. On the way walking to the blind we jumped several does that made snorting noises and we both thought that would spoil our afternoon hunt.

We situated ourselves in the blind around 3:45 p.m. The feeder would go off at 4:30 p.m.

As we sat in the blind passing time, we didn’t see any activity except a squirrel running up one of the branches of the pecan tree immediately behind the corn feeder. The feeder went off precisely at 4:30 p.m., but no hogs or deer showed up at the feeder.

Anticipation builds

4:45 p.m. came and went, and 5 p.m. came and went. We saw nothing. We both started to think the does spooked everything. Then at 5:05 p.m., a buck walked out from the right side of the blind.

We immediately knew he was a nice mature buck. Connor asked me, “Are you thinking about shooting him?”

I said, “He’s a very nice buck, but I shot an eight-point here in 2003 and don’t need to shoot another one.” Then silence took place in the blind as we watched this buck walk around the feeder, but he was not interested in the corn. Connor and I worried the deer would walk or run away at any moment.

After five to 10 minutes had passed, the buck walked around not paying attention to the corn on the ground because he was in rut. Connor looked over at me and said, “I think I want to shoot him.”

Shocked and surprised, I asked, “Are you sure?” He said, “I think so, but I’m concerned about shooting this rifle since it has been a couple of years since I have shot this .270.”

I went on to explain he should aim at the shoulder area, with hopes of dropping the buck in his tracks. At this point, I was excited Connor wanted to shoot this buck, but also very nervous.

I tried to remain calm for Connor, but I felt concerned he might pull his shot. If the buck runs and goes down the creek, we will never retrieve him because it was late in the afternoon and close to dark.

So after finishing coaching lessons—shot placement, hold your breath, lightly squeeze the trigger—we chambered a .270 round in the Remington 700. Connor held it in his hands, ready to make a broadside shot when the moment arises. Keep in mind, there had probably been 20 other opportunities for a broadside shot before Connor made up his mind to shoot.

So the buck started walking toward the creek with his butt toward the blind. No opportunity for a broadside shot.

Waiting for the right moment

He continued walking toward the creek. Once he reached the very high Johnson grass, he decided to lie down and we could no longer see him through the riflescope or binoculars. Minutes started to seem like hours. Would the buck lie there until dark, or what else might happen?

I hoped a doe might show up at the feeder to entice him to standup and maybe approach her since the buck is in rut. So after about five minutes, that was exactly what happened.

At first, the buck did not stand up, but after a few minutes he stood up and started walking behind the pecan tree, but a good broadside shot did not exist. Connor remained very patient as he let the hunt unfold, more patient than me.

The buck walked in front of the feeder and turned to the left, following the doe. At this point we were about to lose our shot opportunity.

At 5:35 p.m. the doe stopped and then the buck stopped broadside. Connor pulled the trigger and made the 80-yard shot.

The buck’s tail tucked and he ran about 20 yards before falling and expiring. Connor made a great shot. Connor was very excited and said this hunt will be a memory that will last for a lifetime.

After taking pictures and calling various family members, we loaded the buck in the UTV and took him to the ranch house for processing. We took the buck to a taxidermist the next afternoon for a shoulder mount.

This beautiful buck field dressed at 130 pounds, had 10 points, a 18½-inch inside spread, scored 139, and aged around 3½ years old. A very nice buck for Caldwell County.

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