Buck of My Life

From opening day until Nov. 28, 2004, I let several young bucks and small hogs walk into and out of my sights. I had my single buck tag ready, hoping that one of the big ones would make that fatal mistake. On Nov. 28, in Goliad County, Texas, a wide-racked buck did just that. I have been on this deer lease for four seasons now, and I have seen my share of bucks and hogs. I'm not much of an antler hunter, but I've never seen such a beautiful buck. So I could not pass up this opportunity.

On Saturday, Nov. 27, Tino Ramirez's guest, Robert Ramirez from San Antonio, and I had seen this massive buck chasing does and smaller bucks in the middle pasture. Robert and I walked down to the fence line, trying to get a better view. The bucks' antlers were wide and dark brown with a small kicker on the left side. We watched that buck for 1 1/2 hours. We could even hear it snort. I said to Robert, "Man, that would be the buck of a lifetime to shoot." As the evening came to an end, so did the hunt. While leaving the pasture, we saw the buck run off and jump over the fence.

The next morning, as sunlight reflected off the shadows of the game feeder, I saw three does. Suddenly they all ran off, and out from my left came a big, wide buck. He was walking slowly toward the feeder. I got out my binoculars. I could not believe my eyes! It was the same buck I had seen in the pasture Saturday. I tried to stay calm and take several deep breaths, but I couldn't. I could hear my heart pound in my chest and thought it was going to come out.

After viewing this monster, there was no doubt I was going to take him. He was walking slowly toward the feeder. I let him get through the barbed wire fence and used my range-finder to get an accurate yardage to the feeder. He was 60 yards away. I lined up my crosshairs and aimed for the shoulder.

BOOM!

After the shot, I looked out of the deer blind window and said to myself, "I know you didn't miss." I secured my rifle and climbed down the blind. I approached the feeder slowly with adrenaline pumping like crazy. When I saw the massive rack, I howled, "YES! YES!"

Back at camp, my dad, Gene Garcia, and father-in-law, Duane Mac Payne, had heard the shot. They were waiting for me. We headed back to where my monster buck lay. It was so heavy that it took all three of us to load it on the basket.

Since I was going to have a shoulder mount made, I was very careful while skinning. I called my hunting buddy, James "Doodle" Jarnigan, and told him about my buck. He was in Michigan at the time and said he was very happy for me and proud of me. The way I see it, it's just being there at the right time and the right place. It was an awesome and memorable day in my life and I got to share it with my dad and father-in-law. I will never forget it.

My daughter, Emily, told me that she wants to go hunting with me. I've taken her before and she really enjoyed seeing the deer, hogs, and birds coming to the feeder. I plan on taking Emily this season. Hopefully she will be able to harvest a nice buck and get it mounted. I want her to remember the times we spent together and how to appreciate the outdoors. I took my buck to be processed at A&A Processing, and had my buck mounted by Tom Eyler, at South Texas Taxidermy. They do a super job with the processing and mounting. My 13-point buck scored 159 5/8 Boone and Crockett, and had an amazing 21 1/2-inch spread.

David Garcia
Corpus Christi, Texas

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