By: Glynn Harris
When I was growing up out on the rural route, falling leaves, southbound geese calling from the skies overhead, me trading short pants and tee shirts for sweats as weather started cooling down meant one thing for this country boy. It was time to go hunting.
We were limited in the wild game we were after to basically squirrels. Deer? We didn’t have any. I can remember growing up that if someone in the community reported finding a deer track, most of the community would head to the spot where a deer crossed the road and marveled at the thought that an actual deer had made that track.
Eventually I grew up and although deer had responded to trapping in areas where they had deer and released in our part of the state, squirrel hunting remained my passion.
My job transferred me to Claiborne Parish and once squirrel season opened, I had already scoped out the woods around Homer to find where most of the oaks and hickories grew knowing that acorns and hickory nuts would attract squirrels. I soon developed a friendship with James White who also loved to squirrel hunt. However, every year as November rolled around, I’d be left alone as my friend would bid me adieu as he headed out to deer hunt.
James started gently working on me telling me how much fun it was to hunt deer suggesting that I come with him to give it a try. My excuse was that I didn’t own a rifle while he countered with the suggestion that the shotgun I used for squirrel hunting would work fine; I’d just need to substitute buck shot for the # 6 shot I used for squirrels.
One thing that started making me think that deer hunting could possibly be fun was the morning I was squirrel hunting alone when I heard the bawling of a hound in the woods near where I hunted. I was somewhat upset at the prospects that my squirrel hunting was about to be messed up when I saw movement out front and a big heavy-antlered buck stepped out, stopped to look my way before bounding away. Admittedly, I felt a little tingle that hearing a squirrel cutting a hickory nut never gave me.
I finally agreed to go on a deer hunt with my friend and on November 24, 1967, James picked me up where I joined him and his three sons to hunt deer with Bill Bailey near Summerfield in northern Claiborne Parish. Once we got there, the five of us spread out along a narrow pipeline where I was instructed to sit tight, enjoy the scenery until I heard Bailey’s hounds headed my way.
I was enjoying the scenery and the chill of a November morning when in the distance, I heard the hounds. Then I realized that the bawling of the hounds was growing closer so I started scanning the woods out front when suddenly, a buck appeared on the pipeline in front of me but instead of dashing across like deer usually do, this buck made a turn and headed down the pipeline that would put him directly in front of me at no more than 20 yards.
I raised my shotgun and fired. Just to make sure the deer wouldn’t get away, I fired twice more in rapid succession…..BLAM…BLAM…BLAM. The deer collapsed on the spot. I not only killed the buck but shot half his 10-point rack off which I found and later reattached. This was long before the days of cell phones so I had to wait for my friend to show up so I could tell my story.
Once James got there, he admired the buck and congratulated me on getting such a fine deer on my first ever deer hunt, but he had a question; why did I shoot him three times. I countered that he was still standing.
James comment still makes me chuckle more than 50 years later…”Son, you have to give him time to fall.”