I’ve sat on my deer stand several times this season; I’ve put a fat doe in the freezer and have seen quite a few does, yearlings and one nice buck. Today, I enjoy deer hunting but chasing venison has not always been my passion.
When I was growing up, there were no deer to hunt. I spent most of my hours outdoors sneaking up on squirrels or jump-shooting squealer ducks.
That all changed in the late 1960s when my job transferred me to Homer in Claiborne Parish.
It was there I met James O. “Jim” White.
We attended church together and it didn’t take long to discover we both liked to hunt. There were lots of squirrels in the woods around Homer and in the pre-hunting lease days, you could hunt just about anywhere there weren’t “posted” signs. Jim and I enjoyed hunting together but once November rolled around, I’d have to go after squirrels alone because Jim would bid me adieu and he’d take off for Summerfield to meet up with Bill Bailey and his pack of hounds to deer hunt.
Jim began working on me; he didn’t beat me over the head with it but his art of gentle persuasion started getting to me. He wanted me to join the Summerfield bunch and give deer hunting a try.
Jim brushed aside my argument that I didn’t own a deer rifle as smoothly as he swatted down passes back at Northwestern State where he starred as a defensive end and served as team captain his senior year. He told me my squirrel gun would work just fine; all I needed to do was swap my #6s for buckshot. I finally gave in and on November 24, 1967, I took my initial voyage into the woods with Jim to deer hunt.
We met up at Butch Bays’ store in Summerfield on opening day and Bailey laid out plans for the first drive. He suggested that Jim take me and his three sons and spread out on a pipeline west of Summerfield while he took his pack of hounds around to start the hunt.
I backed up just off the line, found a comfortable log to sit on and listened for the hounds. It wasn’t long before I heard them yowling and bawling on the trail of a deer.
I’ve been on lots of deer hunts since but I never had the dogs bring a buck right out by my stand like this on my first deer hunt ever. I heard the deer running through the leaves when he burst out onto the pipeline. Instead of darting across like deer have a tendency to do, this buck turned and ran down the pipeline in front of me at maybe ten yards away.
As the buck dashed in front of me, I emptied my shotgun – BLAM..BLAM..BLAM…The buck hit the ground dead as a hammer with half its rack shot off.
When Jim came to check on me, he helped me find the other half of the 10 point buck’s rack and then inquired of me why I shot three times with the deer so close. I told him it was because the deer was still up. Jim’s answer has spanned the ages and his son, Jimmy, recently recalled what his dad told me. “Son,” Jim said, “you’ve got to give him time to fall.”
That was 48 years ago. Jimmy also sent me a note recently that touched me down to the depths of my soul. He told me his dad recently passed away at the age of 89.
Not long before his passing, Jim told Jimmy that there was one more thing he’d love to do before he died and that was to “make one more deer hunt with Glynn Harris.” What an honor it would have been to, just one more time, get to sit in the woods with the kind hearted fellow who nearly half a century ago, gently lured me away from the squirrel woods and introduced me to deer hunting.
Glynn Harris’ column is sponsored by D.C. Pawn of Minden