Early Xmas Present
by Lee Harris

12/03 Greensboro, NC

Hey there,

My name is Lee Harris. I'm 20 years old and an art student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. My favorite pastime is hunting and I've been at it since I was big enough to tag along behind my grandfather. My grandpa, Max, introduced me to all kinds of hunting as a little girl but my passion for whitetail hunting has grown over the years. I've bagged my share of deer in the past but I got my nicest buck this year over Thanksgiving break.

I had an entire week off from college for thanksgiving holiday and I had prepared my stands ahead of time for a long week of hard hunting. During muzzle loading week and the first week of rifle season I had hunted on days that I didn't have classes and on weekends. I was seeing 8-15 does every morning and evening and occasionally a few small bucks mixed in. I had noticed early in the week it had been very cold so the rut was getting in full force. A friend had told me that he had been seeing deer cross the road above my house every morning, chasing does into a patch of hardwoods. After hunting a tree stand all Friday morning that overlooked our field, I decided to get down and walk into the hardwoods behind my home to look for signs that the deer were using the woods. I found lots of rubs on the back side on a pine thicket and as I observed them a deer got up ran out of the thicket in a hurry. I didn't get a good look but I guessed that it was a buck b/c it was alone and well hidden in the thick brush. I snuck down to a creek bottom and propped up against a fallen tree. Only five minutes passed before I saw a deer moving back in my direction through the thick forest. I raised my gun slowly and could only see part of the deer's head and a few horns. I counted four points on the side facing me in the distance but could not get a steady shot before the buck moved into thicker cover. Then from behind me I heard leaves rustling and out hopped another shooter buck from the pine thicket. Startled, I turned and the deer got spooked and took off. I sat there another hour but decided to go ahead set up a tree stand in the woods for later in the week. I keep kicking myself for not shooting the first buck as soon as I saw him but I wanted a clean shot.

My patience paid off on the Wed. before Thanksgiving. I had not seen signs of the bucks again until Tuesday afternoon when I noticed several scrapes around my feed plots and a large group of small trees that had been shredded by a nice set of antlers. I hung some buck lure in a couple trees at each side of the scrapes. Wednesday afternoon the conditions were perfect. It was about 30 degrees and everything was calm and quite. Even the birds and squirrels seemed to be resting. At 4:30pm I heard a few does coming in to the left of me but just before they stepped out into the field they snorted, turned, and ran away. At 5:00pm I was starring at the side of the field where I had found the scrapes and out stepped the nice 8-pt that I had seen a glimpse of on the previous Friday. I knew right away he was a nice deer with tall horns and a thick body. He immediately turned broadside and I took the shot with my Browning .243. The deer ran only a few feet and fell just at the side of the field. A beautiful 8-pt with a 15&1/2 inch spread! He will be up on my wall soon! A pretty nice deer for North Carolina and a great early Christmas present for myself! Happy Hunting ya'll!