A Dixie Lady Deer Hunter

Monday, December 28, 2015

Benton's 6-Point Buck

Vicksburg, MS, resident Benton Lee, 5, harvested this 6-point buck on December 17.  He was hunting with his father, Kelly, and brother Barrett at Woodburn Hunting Club in Tensas Parish, LA, and used a 7mm08 youth rifle.  Benton is the son of Blaine and Kristal Lee.  My congrats to "young" Benton in our great wild outdoors.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Born Hunter

Her first buck...her smile says it all!
An 8 year old little sister proving she is as awesome 
as her big brothers hunting!

My congrats to a born hunter!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Wishing a very Merry Christmas to one and all!  
May God Bless You!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Cousin's Annual Christmas Season Celebration

Last Saturday I traveled to New Orleans to my cousin's 48th Annual Christmas Season celebration with my sweet cousin, Tomi Lynn from Ft. Worth, TX.  We really had a wonderful time visiting our cousin Sidney in his two story home and enjoying the festivities.  I took approximately 80 pictures with my cell phone but picked out a few to post here.  It was like walking into a winter wonderland and I hope to return next year for his 49th.  His 50th should be spectacular!

Picture of the invitation card to my cousins 48th Annual Christmas Season celebration.    

A real tree all decorated for the Christmas season celebration!

Looking towards the front doors.

Champagne in the tub.

Christmas music was playing throughout the house.

Cousins, Tomi Lynn, Sidney and myself.

Tomi Lynn, Sidney and myself. 

My cousin Sidney with his nephew/Godchild, Brendon. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Second Deer Of The Season

John David Liggett harvested this 150-pound doe at dusk on December 17 while hunting in Warren County.  It was his second deer of the season, and taken with a .243 rifle.  John David is a fifth-grader at St. Francis Xavier Elementary School in Vicksburg, MS.    

My congrats to John David on a very nice size doe in our great wild outdoors!  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Her First Deer @ 65

During her teenage years, Ruth Ann Drake often went deer hunting with her father. Or, at least, she went to the woods with him.

“We’d bring my friends along and he’d give us guns, but they were never loaded,” she said. “We weren’t serious about it. We were more interested in talking to each other and having a good time.”

As an adult she went turkey hunting with friends, who valued her skill as a caller more than a shooter.

“I can make a sound like a turkey. I never shot a turkey,” she said with a laugh, before making a pitch-perfect turkey call.

Finally, at 65 years old, Drake got her shot and found her killer instinct. The special education teacher at Beechwood Elementary School bagged the first deer of her life on Dec. 5, while hunting with her boyfriend Ray Bottin.

It was a moment a lifetime in the making.

“It’s thrilling. The hunt, the anticipation and hoping you’ll see a good deer, and then shooting it, it’s exhilarating,” Drake said. “I’ve always enjoyed being out in nature. (Bottin) gave me this opportunity to go, and I was tickled to death.”

Drake and Bottin had been out all afternoon on PawPaw Island on the first Saturday in December. As dusk began to fall, the deer started to emerge from the woods near their stand and Drake had her chance to finally get one.

Two does walked into the clearing as Drake lined up her shot. She’d shot guns at the range before, and dove hunted — with a loaded gun — as a child, but never shot a rifle with a scope. That presented its own challenge.

“I told her to put the cross-hairs on his shoulder. She asked, ‘What are the cross-hairs?’” Bottin said.

Drake figured it out and, from 90 yards away, dropped one of the does with a perfect shot from the 7mm magnum. Her doe weighed 140 pounds, and the gun felt like it kicked with the force of a mule.

“It’s healed now, but I had a big bruise on my shoulder. I wish it was still there. I was proud of that bruise,” she said.

After taking her first doe at an age when most hunters are ready to slow down, Drake is ready to make up for lost time. She and Bottin are planning another hunting trip next weekend, and she’s already planning on taking down another deer.

“I’m going to get me a big buck,” she said with a laugh. “A big buck, with a big rack.”
Courtesy of The Vicksburg Post

Monday, December 21, 2015

As Good As It Gets!

The words of Stewart "Mailrider" who commented on a great hunt at the famous Christmas Place Plantation & Hunting Club on the edge of the Mississippi Delta.  

Over the weekend the hunters had perfect weather with perfect timing. It would be almost impossible to have a better weekend hunting, mailrider admitted.  With the rutting on, five out of six hunters got bucks. You can read all about it at Rex's site, Deer Camp Blog. 

My congrats to all the hunter's at the deer camp of an awesome weekend in our great wild outdoors to always remember!  

Left to right, Berney Howell, Rex Howell, Paul Howell and Michael Howell.
Mark "Mailrider" Stewart

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Christmas Season Celebration In New Orleans

I will be offline this weekend while traveling to New Orleans, LA, for a Christmas celebration.  My cousin, Sidney Mazerat, is having his 48th Annual Christmas Season celebration and I have been invited. I went two years ago and had a wonderful time but could not make it last year. As you can see Christmas is his favorite time of the year!  I'm looking forward to seeing and visiting with him and enjoying the holiday festivities.  

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Mature Buck Characteristics

Many hunters have been in their deer stand and “something” steps into a field or shooting lane. The typical scenario is a buck on the prowl, usually at a considerable distance and in low light conditions.

The hunter’s eyes immediately go to the rack.

However, antler size is not really the gauge of the maturity of a buck.

“The rack has little to do with whether or not a deer has reached it’s potential growth” said quality deer land manager Leslie Smith from Hampton, S.C. “Many hunters see what they think is a trophy deer because it’s got a visible rack over its head.”

Since a deer reaches it’s best antler development at somewhere in the 5 ½-year-old range, learning to distinguish body features that classify a deer at it’s maximum potential is much more reliable than simply judging by its rack.

In the accompanying photo, which Smith took at 200 yards under low-light conditions, it’s easier to judge this trophy deer based on it’s body features — especially since it’s rack isn’t clearly visible.

A mature deer shares many characteristics with a middle-aged man. Smith described each characteristic individually to put together a full picture:

• Thick body — “The most reliable characteristic is a full, thick, mature body, which identifies this animal as a trophy buck based on size-able body weight,” Smith said.

• Sway back — “Age and maturity, as well as a big gut, give this deer a slight sway in its back,” he said.

• Rounded shoulders — “One trait that distinguishes this animal from a husky younger deer are rounded shoulders, another indicator of heavy body weight,” Smith explained.

• Roman nose — “A hooked or round nose, also referred to as an Aquiline nose, is derived from the fullness of the face, but also makes reference to a fierce fighter,” Smith said.

• Squinty eyes — “This is also caused by higher body mass,” he said. “Eye lids may even look puffy.”

• Wide neck — “This photo was taken during the rut, which further increases this buck’s size based on its swollen neck,” Smith said. “The neck minimally decreases in size from the shoulder to the head.”

• Fat brisket — “These are ‘man boobs,’ another place weight accumulates,” Smith said.

• Sagging belly — “Years of consuming grain products have the same effects on deer and humans,” the manager said.

• Short legs — “Overall this deer’s legs are normal-sized but look short when compared to the size and girth of the body,” Smith explained.

After a full analysis, Smith deemed the deer was definitely a shooter.

This buck checks all the boxes for being an old, mature buck — and the rack isn’t one of the key characteristics.  Courtesy of Louisiana Sportsman

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A First Time Shooter!

A hunting story told by a proud Mother who's family loves to deer hunt!

My name is Kala Williamson. My husband, Craig, and I have a 6-year-old son, Josh, and a 4-year-old daughter, Kenley. Both of them take after their parents and love to go deer hunting.

This year is the first time we’ve let Josh take his own gun and be the “shooter.”

On his first hunt this year, on the opening evening of youth season, he was with his daddy in Warren County, Mississippi and they decided to shoot the “first thing that walks out.” Soon enough, two does walked out.

Craig helped Josh get his gun out of the window and line up the shot when Josh promptly told him that he wanted to do it himself. Josh shot the first doe. The second doe didn’t run. He swiftly got her in the sights and squeezed off on her, too.

Doubles his very first time hunting!

Josh was all smiles. His second hunt, he was with his daddy and little sister. Kenley was the “spotter” this time, and together they harvested a doe.

Now on to the bucks. One chilly afternoon, hunting again with his daddy and sister, they decided to “shoot the first thing that walks out,” which seems to be Josh’s motto. This time, an 8-point buck walked into the food plot. After giving a sinister little laugh when he found the buck in his scope, he squeezed off a round and his first buck went down.

On this last hunt, he was with his grandfather, Bendel White. Josh had fallen asleep once in the stand, and he was going to let Josh get a little nap before the deer started walking. After a while, Papaw Bendel spotted a buck down the lane and immediately started waking Josh. A good couple of shakes and a swig of Sprite had Josh awake and ready to spot the deer. The deer played hide and seek, going in and out of trees, but ultimately stepped out long enough for Josh to get a clear shot. He and his .243 Ackley laid out another big buck — a 16 1/2-inch, 8-pointer. This time, I don’t know who was more proud — him or his papaw!

We still have a lot of time left in hunting season, but if Josh doesn’t kill another deer this year, his first year was definitely memorable.

My congrats to Josh on his successful deer hunts with his Dad, Kenley and PaPaw in our great wild outdoors!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hannah's 9-Pointer For Christmas!

Hannah Matthews
For five years, Hannah Matthews said her deer hunting luck had been all bad, since her boyfriend Spencer Pierce had photos and other reports of big bucks on his hunting club in Yazoo County.

“Out of five years we have dated, I had never seen any of these ‘big deer’ in person,” said Matthews, who works at Mississippi State University in Starkville. “I guess I was bad luck.”

That all changed, and rapidly, on Dec. 5, when she and Pierce went hunting in the area where one of the elusive giants had been reported feeding in a lane right before dark. It was a big 9-point, and the end of Matthews’ long run of disappointment.

“This was the first year Spencer had seen this deer on his land,” Matthews said. “He showed up on a trail camera right after bow season started this year.”

She had a good feeling that weekend.

“I was super excited about this weekend,” Matthews said. “I just had this feeling that I was going to kill a big deer.

“We went hunting early that Saturday morning and saw quite a few deer, but nothing too big. I told Spencer, ‘I’m not killing one unless he can go on my wall.’

“I guess I was being a little sarcastic, but it paid off. We came back to the same box stand that afternoon about 3:30 p.m.”

The afternoon started slow.

“We didn’t see anything for a whole hour and then saw a little 6-point, feeding in the lane about 200 yards from us,” Matthews said. “I knew if there was one buck there had to be a bigger one not too far behind. Right?

“It was slowly getting dark. It was about 5 o’clock, but I kept the binoculars glued to my face. Finally, I saw him.”

She said a huge-bodied deer walked halfway into the lane, but in the rapidly darkening day, she could barely see what it was.

“I handed the binoculars over to Spencer hoping he could see a little better than me,” said Matthews, who picked up the .30-06 rifle loaded with a 180-grain bullet. “Next thing I hear is, ‘it’s him, it’s the big one shoot.’

“Frantically I threw up the gun trying to find him in the scope at 265 yards. I knew I couldn’t hesitate and probably didn’t have very much time, so I fired. He bolted so quick into the woods I knew I must have missed and just scared him. I was not feeling confident at all.”

Matthews and Pierce waited a while, and the conversation turned to ...

“About how I probably missed him especially with him being at such a far range,” she said. “We got down from the stand and started heading back to the truck then we hear something trying to move around in the thick brush and briars.

“I did a little happy dance.”

Matthews figured then that she had to have hit the big buck, but they couldn’t be sure if the shot was good enough for a clean kill.

“We tried not to spook him and eased on out of the woods,” she said. “We finally went back to the spot about three hours later. I was praying the whole ride back to the spot, ‘please let us find blood.’ I couldn’t let all these guys down! We get to the spot and sure enough, blood.”

The search didn’t take long. Following the blood trail 30 minutes, Matthews spotted the big deer’s body 35 yards from where he had been standing at the shot.

“I screamed with excitement; you would have thought I found a million dollars,” she said. “I looked at Spencer and said, ‘I know what I want for Christmas this year — him on my wall!”

The giant 255-pound buck was a main-frame 8-point with an extra sticker. The green score was an impressive 145 inches, and Matthews found it easy to pose inside the buck’s 18½-inch spread.

Said Matthews: “Merry Christmas to me and goodbye bad luck.”   Courtesy of Mississippi Sportsman

Congratulations to Hannah Matthews in our great wild outdoors!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Two Deer One Shot

Kyler Verbenten

A 10-year-old Wisconsin boy already has the hunt of a lifetime!

Kyler Verbeten has one heck of a hunting story to share. You see, he’s a first-time hunter, who killed two deer with only one shot!

It all happened after Kyler’s dad, Matt, instructed his son to shoot at the bigger of two does that had come within range of the pair. Kyler fired once, and missed. It was his second shot that killed both deer. Talk about excitement!

Kyler tore out the tree stand after he realized what had happened. As fast as he could get there, to witness something many might deem a stroke of luck, or a miracle, even!
Since both deer were harvested by Kyler, Matt Verbeten used his own tag to account for his son’s extra tally. Kyler’s already excited about next year, and we can see why! Congratulations, Kyler! What an incredible hunt!

My congrats to Kyler in our great wild outdoors!  Awesome first shot!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Father-Son Hunt

Vicksburg resident Kade Lott, 11, shot this 6-point buck while hunting with his father Brian Lott at the family's deer camp in Onward, MS.  He made the shot from 318 yards with a 7mm-08.  It was his first buck of the season.  My congrats to Kade on a very long shot in our great wild outdoors and making hunting memories with his Dad. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Archie's Twenty-Something Points

On December 8, 2014, Archie Grantham harvested this monster buck.  It is said that this guy is much deserving and puts in year after year of heavy hunting.  He usually takes his son and let's him shoot the deer. On this one day he went alone and BOOM!  A much deserved kill outside Natchez, Mississippi.  My congrats to Archie on his great buck in our wild outdoors killed in the great State of Mississippi! 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Monster Buck In The Heart of MS

A hunter's cousin is sharing a picture of a deer that he killed recently in the heart of Mississippi.  Everything is confidential, his name, the measurements and location. He is only posting for everyone to enjoy and to let you know that it was in our state!  He also commented that we are always on the bottom in everything except for the wildlife we have. 

Congratulations to a very proud hunter for an exceptional nice buck in our great wild outdoors!  

PS:  Rumors are going around that it was killed in Adams County, MS.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Wasps vs. First Deer

NICE SHOT:  Austin Whatley, 7, poses with a 135-pound doe he killed on Kings Point Island on November 24th.  

A wasp sting and a borrowed rifle led to Austin Whatley harvesting his first deer.

The 7-year-old Vicksburg resident was hunting with his father, Scooter Whatley, at the family's camp on Kings Point Island.  It was two days before Thanksgiving, and they were in the deer stand of Harold Whatley, Scooter's father and Austin's grandfather.

Right around dawn, Austin woke up from a nap just in time to see a 135-pound doe approach the stand.  At the same time, father and son noticed something far more ominous.

"He said something bit me or stung me," Scooter Whatley said.  "I shined my flashlight up in the corner and there was a huge wasp nest up there.  I'm talking 75 or 100 wasps."

Scooter quickly gave his son a choice - - flee the wasps and the deer stand and lose the doe, or quickly take the shot.

"I said we could get out or wait another 30 seconds.  We waited it out and took the shot and he drilled it," Scooter Whatley said.  "Then we bailed out of the stand.  I mean, we parachuted out, we got out so fast."

Austin was using his older brother Connor's brand new .243 rifle and had never fired it before, but made a perfect shot.  The Whatleys tracked the deer and found it a short distance away.

After harvesting the doe - - the biggest taken at the camp this season - - and going through the informal ceremonies that accompany a first kill, they didn't have a chance to return to the stand to deal with the wasps.  That allowed for a sequel to the adventure the next day when Scooter and Connor went to the camp.

"The next day we took the wasp spray and got them, and swept them all out.  They were all over the place," Scooter said.

Once safe from the wasps, Connor got a deer himself.  He bagged a 230-pound, eight-point buck that approached the stand not long after sunrise.  It was the biggest buck taken at the camp this season.

"It was the same scenario," Scooter Whatley said.  "One shot. BOOM.  I watched the deer pile up."

A FAMILY AFFAIR:  Scooter Whatley, left, stands with his son Connor and the 230-pound, 8-point buck Connor shot at the family's hunting camp on Kings Point Island on November 25. Courtesy of Ernest Bowker ~ The Vicksburg Post

I have hunted at this camp on Kings Point Island, north of Vicksburg, MS, years ago and have seen some monster bucks there. In fact, I've killed two nice 8-points, a 6 pointer and a bunch of does. I know Scooter and his Dad.  I have also hunted in his Dad's stand and seen a monster 'White Horns' buck (that no one told me about) that was bedded down nearby but I could not shoot it at the time.  You could only shoot one buck and one doe back then but I've heard the rules have changed since.  I'm so very proud of Scooter's sons and his Grandpa Harold in harvesting deer in our great wild outdoors! My congrats to both young hunters!  

(Note: Picture of me with my very first 8-point buck shown above on this blog was taken at this same camp)

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Yes, Nuns Can Do It!

ST. MARYS, Pa.—Benedictine Sister John Paul Bauer of St. Marys. Pa., bagged a 10-point, 200-pound buck shortly after saying the rosary in her tree stand on the first day of hunting season Nov. 30. “It was positively thrilling,” says Sister John Paul, who is a theology teacher at Elk County Catholic High School in St. Marys. “After I realized I got the deer, I thanked God.”

Benedictine Sister John Paul Bauer's hunting photo went viral with more than 1 million views on Facebook in 24 hours.

Like all good hunters, Sister John Paul, 60, has a tale to tell. At about 6:30 a.m., she settled in a tree stand, not far from her home in the small, rural Elk County community of Weedville. She recited the rosary in the dim, early morning light … and waited. Not long afterward, the sound of cracking twigs broke the silence; several doe passed underneath. In all the excitement, Sister John Paul’s coffee mug dropped to the ground. She managed, though, to gather her senses in time to spot two large bucks sparring in the distance—about 100 yards away. A former U.S. Navy nurse, she readied her 30-30 Winchester and took her best shot. At exactly 9:05 a.m., the 10-point buck fell. “I grew up with a family of hunters and I learned to shoot in the service,” Sister John Paul says.

When Sister John Paul returned to the classroom that week, students were excited to hear about her hunting adventure. The deer was the biggest of the three bucks she has killed in her 15-year hunting career. That’s not to mention the time—five years ago—when she took down a 200-pound bear in the same area.

A native of St. Marys, Sister John Paul grew up watching her father and brothers hunt. It’s an activity not at odds with spirituality, she contends, saying it’s all about recognizing the beauty of the cycle of life. “It’s a conservation effort,” she explains. “If you don’t kill the deer, they will starve. You have to maintain the population that can be fed naturally off the land. If you get an overabundance, then the deer starve. Likewise, if you overkill, then that’s not good either. So there’s a balance.”

As a Benedictine, she believes that Christ is in everything, even the hunted. “You don’t just hunt for the sake of killing. You are part of nature. You’re part of a cycle. You’re part of creation,” she says. Deer meat, according to Sister John Paul, is organic, lean and antibiotic-free. She had her buck butchered for sausage and steaks, and is sharing it with a couple of local families. Jeff Crawford of White Tail Taxidermy, St. Marys, is mounting the 16-inch-wide rack, which Sister John Paul describes as “nicely symmetrical.”

Sister John Paul professed her final vows with the Benedictine Sisters of Elk County in 2002. She earned her nursing degree in 1975, two years after graduating from high school, and then went on to serve as a nurse with the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Having been taught by the Sister of Mercy for 12 years at Saint Francis Xavier Academy, I'm so thrilled for her success.  Yes, nuns can do it too!  My congrats to Sister John Paul on her successful hunt in our great wild outdoors!

Monday, December 07, 2015

Little Fella Big Doe

Zac Thompson's son got to take his first deer yesterday evening! One of the best hunting trips that he had been on and will never forget, said Zac.  It has been ear to ear smiles ever since. His son, who is only 3 years old (hard to believe) made an awesome shot on the doe and dropped her right in her tracks. He said it took him forever to find her in the scope, but once he did it was over. His son is so excited to be able to put meat in the freezer for the family and wanted to cook some last night.  Zac said that his son did not want to wash the blood off his face before he went to bed because he was so proud.  Another great hunting story in our wild outdoors. My congrats to his son and to Zac for taking his son hunting and making precious memories together.  

A proud little hunter!

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Army Navy Circle Pictures @ Vicksburg, MS

I drove by the Vicksburg bridges yesterday afternoon to see if a towboat was passing by but saw nothing.  Took some pictures of the bridges with "OLD GLORY" flying in the breeze.   

O say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

My daughter took a similar picture a few months ago through the back hook of a cannon and thought I would give it a try.

 The front of the cannon.

You can see the hook on the backside of the cannon while the sun was setting.

A Vicksburg Civil War cannon.  
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