Thirty-Four Days To A Trophy
A fine example of the type of deer that Dearing's ranch fosters, the huge buck began showing up on game cameras placed at some of Bud's feeders (note the other buck in this photo).
Photo courtesy of Bud Dearing.
Each morning for 34 days, Dearing sat his vigil, visiting the owls every third day. During that time, one of the owls earned its wings and flew out of the blind, leaving its four siblings behind to entertain the hunter in the aroma and atmosphere provided by man and bird alike in the blind.
THE ULTIMATE REWARD
When the morning in the 34th day arrived in mid-November, the deer in Erath County were in full rut; Dearing's blind faced to the east. As he watched the yawn of dawn arrive, seven does came to the feeder nearby.
"All of a sudden I looked back at the feeder and all the deer were gone," Dearing said. "Then the big buck came walking right past the blind from behind me, only a few feet away, heading toward the feeder. He came out of the west and was walking away from me. I knew that there was no shot to make. He sniffed around the feeder a few seconds and then continued on into some trees just past it. In a few moments, he came out again and stopped in the clearing 82 yards from me. I put it (the scope reticule) on his neck, and he went down -- and never moved again."
The buck scored 189 7/8 Boone and Crockett Club points, its rack's inside spread stretched the measuring tape to a whopping 29 inches. "He weighed 159 pounds live weight," said Dearing, "which isn't regarded as heavy for a deer with the size of antlers this buck carried.
"Most deer's antlers get smaller when you walk up to them, but this one's antlers just got bigger. I felt so humbled that I dropped down on one knee, took off my hat, put it across my heart and thanked God for the privileges He has given me. I am as happy as I have ever been in my life."
Dearing knew that the big buck was ranging somewhere on his land, perhaps on neighboring properties as well. His spirits were lifted when a neighbor reported seeing what may have been the same buck cross a county road.
Dearing took the buck to a nearby meat processing plant; it created quite a stir. "The man at the processing plant said he would have been better off rather than charging a processing fee if he had just put a bucket on the door and charged people to get a look at the deer," the rancher said. "People came from all around to see it."
Pure determination and patience led Dearing to his great accomplishment, but he's learned since bagging the trophy buck that some luck was involved; at least one and possibly two other people could have claimed the bragging rights -- of a sort.
"The taxidermist who mounted it found one hole in the buck's right ear and another long cut on the right top of his neck that left bullet fragments there," he said. "I don't know if someone tried to spotlight it or what, but he had been shot twice before."
Some things are just meant to be -- and in this case it's clear that the right man ended up with his buck of a lifetime!