Every now and then you have one of those special hunts.
A week before the season ended, my good friend Dr. Gordon Lyons invited me to hunt his beautiful WRP property north of Greenwood, Mississippi. His son Phillip and my son Clark joined us.
After a morning duck hunt, we got into the woods on a beautiful January evening. I saw three rack bucks, and numerous smaller bucks and does, flights of geese. I listened to the ducks landing in the South Swamp, which encouraged me for the duck hunt that awaited the following morning.
Hunting Back In My Day
I grew up hunting the Bienville Forest between Morton and Forest, Mississippi. We hunted with dogs and thought “still hunters”, as we called them, must be nuts.
We sat down by trees, because tree stands were not quite the standard they are today. We hunted with shotguns. Ballistics was about whether to use double or triple buck shot, or whether to lead with a slug for when the deer was not moving, and follow with buckshot to give a better pattern when he ran off.
Hunting in Mississippi Today
Times have changed so much. We wear protective hunter orange to make sure other hunters can see us in the woods and we don’t have as many shooting accidents as we used to but still too many. We text incessantly about what we’re seeing on the stand and can now capture a few of these moments so you know we aren’t ALWAYS stretching the truth.
There is something so exciting and uplifting to be in the woods, seeing and listening to the sounds of nature, seeing the deer sign as you walk to your stand.
Finding the Big Buck
On this afternoon, I was blessed to see one of the biggest bucks I’ve seen in the woods. I had an easy 50 yard shot had I wanted it. It was a beautiful buck but had part of its horns broken from fighting and, with great reluctance, I decided to let this big one go for one more year.
I’ve been called a number of unflattering things by my hunting brethren who have seen this video, mostly starting with the word “dumb…” but I’ll leave it at that. I’m reminded that hunting and shooting are not necessarily the same thing.
Hunting is so Much More
Hunting is so many more things than the kill. It is the friendship, and dining with your buddies after the hunt, sharing incredible sights and shots and ducks, just enjoying your life.
I love the outdoors. I love the old guys that I used to hunt with who have passed on this past year, men like Vernon Crotwell and my Uncle Arthur.
They would have loved to see this deer, but I doubt they would have passed up this particular chance. The woods and the outdoors remind us of the best of times, and they are indeed the good old days. But the good ole days are today for somebody young, somebody just coming along. Maybe you and me will live long enough and hunt long enough for today to be a “good old day.”
Here’s to another blessed hunting season. I cannot wait for the next one.
Mike Massey Feb. 3, 2020
Mississippi Big Buck Video
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