First 8-Pointer by Randy Rowley 1/5/09 ©


A week before the 1990 – 1991 general season, I spent the morning in my box blind and had the privilege ofwatching a large 8-pointer feed for over an hour not more than 20 yards from me.  His rack was perfectly symmetrical, tall, and wide.  For some reason, he reminded me of Babe, Paul Bunyan’s blue ox.  “Babe” certainly didn’t seem to fit him, so I named him “Blue.”

This was only my second season lease.  For years, due to limited finances, I only hunted when people invited me.  The year before, I hunted my first season lease near Blanco but had seen few deer and only bagged one – a 5-point buck.  When the season ended, I decided that I not re-join that lease for the next season.

A few months later, Lee Tunnell called and told me about a 676-acre lease near Georgetown that had available spots on it.  It was only 21 miles from my home in Austin.  Robert Galabeas, Lee, and I took a tour of the lease and saw several deer.  Robert and I joined the lease.  Each hunter was allowed to select two stands that would be his for the entire season.  I selected a box blind about 150 yards from a farm to market road and built a tree stand in heavy woods.

Although I was optimistic about the lease, when a wide but short 6-pointer walked out 100 yards away from my box stand on opening morning, I decided that beggars couldn’t be choosers and shot him behind his shoulder with my Remington Model 700 BDL .25-06.  He was my first 6-pointer.

He ran directly away from me into heavy brush.  I waited the standard 30 minutes for him to bed down and die and then went to look for him.  He left a good blood trail and I found him about 75 yards from where I had shot him.  The 120-grain bullet had passed through both lungs.

I tagged and field dressed him and dragged him over to my blind.  I then went to check on my feeder, which had failed to go off.  As I was tinkering with my feeder, I saw movement behind my stand.  It was Blue!  He was walking across my bow, only 20 yards behind my stand and only 120 yards from me!  I grabbed my rifle off the ground but he saw the movement and high tailed it directly away from me.

I got him in my crosshairs and was just about to squeeze the trigger, when I saw that he was running straight for a herd of cows.  Chagrined, I lowered my rifle and watched him run through the cows until he was out of sight.

A week later, I had an unsuccessful morning.  I got into my car and started to back onto the dirt road.  I saw movement to my right.  It was Blue!  I slammed on my brakes, put the car into park, got my rifle out of my case and chambered a round.  However, by the time I accomplished all of that he was long gone.

The last weekend of the season was cold and still.  It was one of those mornings that makes you question why you are a hunter.  Nothing was moving.  No rabbits.  No squirrels.  No ‘dillos.  And certainly no deer.  Nothing.  As I sat in my box blind debating whether I was insane or just stupid for staying put, I saw movement to my left.

I shifted my gaze, expecting to see a cow or two.  Much to my surprise, it was two deer.  They were about 100 yards away and were slowly moving towards me.  I was surprised on many levels.  The first surprise was that the first deer of the day showed up when deer usually take their morning break, around 9:00 AM.  The second surprise was the fact that these deer came in from the west.  Up until this morning they had come in from either the south or north, depending on which way the wind was blowing.  The third surprise was that these deer were both bucks.  Up until this morning, I had always seen bucks traveling with does.

One buck was a gnarly 6-pointer.  It was a young deer, probably in his second season.  His buddy was a classic 8-pointer with a decent rack for a hill country buck.  He was at least a year older than his companion.  He was certainly not in Blue’s class, but I decided that Blue or a similar buck probably would not present himself, especially seeing that this was the last weekend of the season.  I decided that I would take the 8-pointer.

The bucks were still coming in head on, so my best shot was a neck shot.  After a few seconds they stopped.  I lined my crosshairs on the middle of his neck and squeezed the trigger.  He dropped like a rock and I knew instantly that he was not going to rise again.

The 6-pointer ran around 150 yards and stopped to the right of my blind.  He then proceeded to snort at me for around three minutes, while I pulled out my hunting license and completed my tag.  He was only about 50 yards away and I could have taken him easily, if I had possessed another tag and had so desired.

As I finished my tag, I reflected on what I had just accomplished.  I was pleased to have made an instant kill shot and that the deer would not have to suffer.  I was also pleased that I would not have to track it.  There was also a feeling of accomplishment that I finally had joined the ranks of hunters who had shot eight pointers and because I had taken my largest deer to date.

My exiting the blind finally encouraged the 6-pointer to run away.  The last that I saw of him he was high tailing it in heavy brush.

I was hoping that I would get another chance at Blue during the next season, but I never saw him again.  I did not hear of another hunter on the lease bagging him, so he was probably tagged by a hunter on another lease or by a car.  Over time, his memory faded, as all memories do.  However, I’ll always remember my first 8-pointer, because I see his shoulder mount every day on my wall!

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