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When it all comes together

It is indescribable to have a dream buck walk by your deer stand and offer a clean shot after diligently hunting him for three months.

On Dec. 29, that is exactly what happened to me. The turn of events I experienced while hunting my dream buck offer spiritual intent to even the non-hunter.

In late September, my nephew offered to let me hunt on a piece of property he owned. He wanted me to have a place to hunt exclusively and harvest whatever presented itself.

The problem is that the piece of property is located between two large subdivisions and bordered by two county roads just outside the city limits of a town 107 miles away.

There were no readymade deer stands, so I had to literally carve one on the property. In the process, I almost had a heat stroke because I had no one to help me in the 90-degree heat.

The 80-acre property has two large open fields filled with high grass and weeds. In the middle, sits a wood lot with a small creek/drainage ditch, making it an ideal set up for a good buck to be taken.

With a lot of hard work, persistence and hope for some good fortune, I set out to make it happen.

The trail camera I placed near my stand revealed an abundance of deer, including this nice heavy-horned 10-point buck I named “The Phantom,” as he looked like a ghost and acted like one, too!

He was smart and only moved by the cover of night.

On Oct. 1, the opening day of bow season, I got up at 4 a.m., dressed and made the two-hour drive up to my stand north of Madison.

Squirrels were the only animals I saw that day.

I made this trip seven times over three months before finally shooting my buck.

Did I get discouraged?

Yes, and even considered giving up on the long drive and the expensive fuel bill I was running up.

On my seventh trip, I sat like all the other times except for this time I had some luck. Around 5 p.m., a single large doe eased into my food plot to eat. I made a careless noise and she bolted.

About five minutes later, another large doe walked out and stood looking backward. I knew she had company, so I held my fire and prayed.

As she walked back into the thick woods, I saw this beautiful dark, large-body buck step into view. He stood about 35 yards away.

I did not need glasses to tell it was the buck I had been dreaming of, so I took the shot.

When I did, he went down in his tracks, like a sack of sand. He never moved.

I didn’t feel the buck fever until after the shot, but when it hit, I began to shake all over in excitement!

All I could do was rejoice in the Lord and praise him for granting me the opportunity to harvest one of his grand creations.

So many things could have prevented this joyous occasion — like me taking the first doe or the one bringing him straight to me, or just abandoning the whole project after one of the many disappointing trips.

He measured in at 5-foot-3 from the tip of his nose to his rear end. He had a neck girth of 29 inches and weighs over 250 pounds. His inside spread measured 18 inches, with a gross score of 146 2/8 inches.

This old stud buck is by far the best I have ever harvested.

Now, for all you non-hunters, here is the road map to success for 2017.

Whatever it is you are pursuing in the Brookhaven and Lincoln County area — be it a better job, a better marriage or most of all, a closer walk with Jesus, like old Bro. Mike, you are going to have to put a lot of work into it.

For so long, I have felt like all the good deer go to other folks, but persistence paid off, and if you are the same, I feel it will for you. too.

May all your hunts result in success and may all your dreams come true in 2017.

God bless you and God bless America.

Mike Dykes is a pastor and story teller. He can be reached at angelsmannow@yahoo.com.