War Eagle or Roll Tide? Despite being from Ontario Canada I have lots of love for Alabama. My wife went to U of A and my sister in law went to Auburn and both lived in the state for a long time. And that is where this weeks story comes from. It’s a great story about good friends, family, and a “Wall Hanger”. Thanks for sharing Meredith!

 

It was Sunday December 14, and my husband (John Locklear), his younger brother (Michael Pietkiewicz), and our best friend (Tony Caldwell) were all talking about hunting that afternoon. The weather conditions looked perfect and we were all in agreement it looked too good not to go. We live in Lee County, Alabama and my husband has a nice food plot across the street from our house.

We had been tracking several good bucks on trial cameras over the summer and beginning part of the season. We were calculated in our hunting efforts hoping that one day we would be able to say BBD! John and Tony have a keen interest in hunting videography and have been working hard trying to get me on video shooting my first buck. Tony decided that night he would sit with me in hopes I would finally get one. I have been hunting for 7 years now and haven’t found a buck I’d want to shoot. I have always told John that if I am going to shoot a buck, it will be one I will be proud to hang on our wall. It has been an ongoing competition in our house to see who will get the first “Wall Hanger.”

It was 1:30 when we finally reached our stand. We passed the first few hours on stand with me getting lessons on where to shoot if it’s a buck that walks out knowing they are harder to take down. I began searching on the internet for buck pictures so Tony could point where to aim. It was about 3:45 a button buck walked out. Tony and I watched him go up and down the field for about an hour. Throughout that time I could hear movement off to the right of the shooting house we were in. I kept anxiously whispering to Tony, “What is that?” “Just come on out so I can shoot you!”

He laughed and the entire time and I kept thinking in my mind please be a big buck, please!! It began to get to that 30 minute window when you know this is it. I kept watching the minutes tick by thinking, “once again I don’t have a wall hanger.” Then, out to the right in my peripheral vision, I see this huge figure walk by Tony’s face. It was a big bodied deer with what I thought was a smaller 7 point. I grabbed the rifle and put it in the small window to get a closer look.

As I tried to get the deer in focus and analyze his antlers Tony kept whispering “What it is. Doe or a buck?” I adjusted the scope and centred the deer in the crosshairs. At that point I was able to recognize the length of his tines and width of his rack and I whispered to Tony ” It’s a Monster Buck!” As all this was going on, a rhythmic noise was breaking the silence of our blind and I turned to Tony and asked “What is that pounding noise!” It took us about 10 seconds to realize it was the barrel of the gun banging on the window of the shooting house. I was so nervous. I was uncontrollably shaking at what I was looking at. Tony decided to put his hand under the gun so I could use it as a rest. He kept telling me, take a deep breath, and try to stay calm. I said it’s hard when I am looking at something as big as a moose!

I was finally able to steady my hand and said you ready? Because I am going to kill me a buck. BANG! I can’t stop shaking we listen carefully as he runs off and hear him hit a tree. We decide to sit in the stand a bit longer to make sure we don’t get up and push it. At this point I am freaking out, because all I can think of is what if I missed. I had this opportunity and probably blew it.

It is now dark and I keep seeing my phone light up, and I just know John is wondering if I got a buck. I didn’t want to answer my phone because it will light up the entire shooting house and I could hear that there were deer still around us. Tony and I finally got down and went back to the house. We needed to get lights and reinforcements in John and his younger brother Michael.

Sitting at the house we all decided to wait an hour before we began to track it. I was asked 20 questions about the events of the hunt. Where was he when I shot him? Was he looking up? How many points? Where did he run after you shot? Where were you aiming? As I sat at the house for an hour, correction, as I stood pacing back and forth for an hour all I wanted to know was if I got him or not. I felt like I was going to throw up, the anticipation as killing me

John finally finally broke the tension and said alright lets go see if you got yourself a buck. So all 4 of us, lights in hand, walk in to the field to begin looking for blood. John found the first spot and I was so excited I just screamed. We were following his trail tracking spots of blood when John decided to shine his light up the field edge just to see if he bedded anywhere near the edge. As he scanned the field edge he got a glimpse of something white under a tree and yelled “You got him, come look!”

Meredith with her Wall Hanger whitetail
Meredith with her Wall Hanger whitetail

The buck had only made it maybe 20 yards, hit that tree and laid down. We all jumped, screamed, and held each other for a few minutes. I was in shock! I could tell my husband was so proud of me, after all he had introduced me to hunting and the outdoors lifestyle. This hunt was obviously one of my favorite hunts, not only because I got me a great buck; but I got to experience the entire hunt start to finish with my husband, brother-in-law and our best friend. It was this experience that I will remember for a lifetime.

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