About 7:30 this morning I got a text message that said, “Buck down,” from Jerrod.
An hour later our son sent a text that described the buck as a long-tined, massive, main-frame eight-pointer with several stickers, and extra tines. About an hour later a message said the buck tallied about 148 inches of antler.
That’s a heck of a trophy, his best whitetail ever and more antler than most avid deer hunters ever put their hands on.
But the buck’s location was far more important that the dimensions.
He got it on our family farm north of Lawrence.
My grandma and grandpa started buying the place in the early 1940s, eventually putting several small farms together to total about 180 rugged acres.
Since Grandpa drove a truck cross-country grandma and her two daughters often did the farming and livestock work that helped pay for the land.
In the mid-1990s my dad and step-mom bought the land, as much to gurantee future generations a place to play in the country as to help my grandparents financually.
The property’s best known for a 12 acre lake where we swim, fish, water ski and have gatherings. The rest of the place is more rugged than much of the Ozarks and mostly timbered with mature hardwoods.
About three years ago I started trying to make good deer habitat even better. We’ve added food plots and cut trees so more brush and browse can grow. There’s an off-limits area where the deer can always find refuge.
Jerrod and I had treestands in place long before the season began.
But others have helped, too.
Jerrod’s grandma quit renting the pasture for cattle so we could have better brush on the place. That costs her several hundred dollars annually. Assorted aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews stay clear of the woods they so enjoy throughout hunting seasons so they don’t disturb the deer.
Fortunately most were home when Jerrod brought the buck off the hill in our tractor’s scoop. He got to show it to his great aunt and great uncle and coached his grandma on how to use his cell phone’s camera. She did a heck of a job.
Ideally he’d have also been able to share it with his great-grandparents and his grandfather. All have passed-on, though.
But something tells me they were there through it all.
It’s the family part of the family farm that’s always made it special.