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Mom and I in the Woods

My deer hunting story takes place when i was in 1981 when I was 12 yrs old.. My father worked for a man
who just happened to lease some land in South Texas. On youth weekend of that year he offered
my father the opportunity to take me and my brother hunting on his ranch. He accepted without hesitation!!
When we arrived at the ranch I was in awe. I grew up in East Texas which has very few deer and here I am
in Freer Texas and saw more deer on the drive to the camp than i have seen my entire life. Experiencing
hunting like this was like being in another world. The ranch manager showed us pictures of giant south
deer and man was I excited. I could picture one of those giant bucks hanging on my wall at home already.
However, as he went on to explain to the 10 or so kids that in camp the monsters we saw all over the
walls of the camp house were off limits to us. I felt like someone kicked me in the groin. I thought well
thats ok I will just take a any 8 pt. which in 1981 was a trophy to me;
However, as the ranch manager expained
a few min later, we were there to simply shoot spikes. SPIKES!!! I thought someone was playing a joke
on us. We all did. Well as it turns out it was no joke.
So, after the disappointment of not being able to harvest a huge buck wore off we all enjoyed
the night in camp. The following morning we were off to the stands, My brother was to sit with my dad and
I was to sit with my mom. We got to our stands, which were huge box stands with senderos cut in each
direction that had corn spread for the deer to eat. We got to the stands well before daylight. So here I
am 12 yrs old, sitting in a deer stand with my mom seeing silouetts of deer everywhere as the
sun started to rise. Wow this was gonna be a great hunt I was thinking. So as the sun began to come
up I began to look around the stand and noticed there were alot o magazines on a shelf in the stand.
When daylight finally broke I happened to notice before my mom that these werent hunting magazines
but magazines of the adult variety. You talk about something funny, try sitting in a stand with your mom
surrounded by that. I did my best to keep my eyes peeled to the windows at all times.
As good hunting light showed up so did the big bucks. We saw one that was 400 yds off
that was to this day the most magnificent buck I have ever seen. As our luck went we probably saw
200 deer that morning but not one spike. We were allowed to shoot javelina aslo if they came out
so just before the jeep was due to pick us up we heard some about 50 yds behind us behing a big pile
of mesquites so we climbed out of the stand and the plan was to sneak up on them and shoot one.
Sounded real simple in the stand. So here is this timid 12 year old boy and his mom sneaking around
this big dozer pile and suddenly realizing we didnt sneak up on them at all. They were walking right
toward us without us being able to see them. Well they saw me the same time i saw them , the hogs
headed one way and me and my mom headed the other. I dont know who was scared more us or them.
So we made he ranch hand drive all the way to the stand to get us for lunch.
That afternoon, we were in the same stand, minus the magazines, as my mom had the
ranch hand remove them. About an hour before dark I heard my brother shoot and they radioed to
us he has gotten one. Now the pressure was on because you see I am the big brother. Well that
afternoon it was apparent it would be no problem shooting a spike because there were about
15 within 200 yds of me. As we were trying to decide which one to shoot we noticed this one
in particular who was kinda being a bully to the others so we decided to do the other deer a favor
and take care of him. I would love to say I made a 200 yd shot dropping him in his tracks and all
but truth is he walked up to within 20 yds stood broadside and I did drop him right there where he stood.
It was my first deer. Me and my mom hugged and were so happy. We radioed my dad and brother
to tell them I got one also. The ranch hand showed up to help us load my trophy up and head to
camp. It was a great hunt.
You may be wondering why would a man who is hunting with IMB outfitters for monster
bucks would be so proud of a spike he harvested when he was 12. Well that was the only time I
ever sat with my mom in a deerstand. My mom passed away last Sept, 14,2006 of ovarian cancer
at the young age of 56. I have never hunted with an outfitter before but she knew how passionate
I am about deer hunting that she told my dad to buy me a bow hunt for this year before she died
so he bought it for me for my birthday in feburary. So this October 15 i get to hunt with my mom
one last time.
This story, does not make the 1500 work min. requirement for the free hunt but I am not
gonna try to spice it up just for that. Its simply one simple mans, one and only hunting story with
the greatest woman he ever knew.


IMB Outfitters has my permission to show this on their webpage or any other place they

Jesse Straughn

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