I'm blessed to have close friend, Steve Sceroler, share his recently purchased Mississippi whitetail property with me. Over the year, he spent countless hours on his dozer and tractors getting the place groomed. Steve reserved the private piece of heaven for his family, daughters and their friends, and whoever else was lucky enough to be invited to hunt… Yep, me! I spent several weekends at the camp with him this summer building gates and barbwire fences. Of course, there was a little fishing in between.
The fourth weekend of December started off like any other since whitetail season opened. With gear loaded, I drove north on Friday after work. I decided to press my luck on fuel and ending up running out 20 miles south of camp.
A 10:00pm phone call rustled Steve out of bed to come get me off the road. The lack of required sleep caused a change in plans. We would stay on the property for the morning hunt, rather than check out another area. I chose to hunt a tripod stand situated on the crossing of two lanes in the middle of a gorgeous pine plantation. Behind the stand, ran a creek with a bit of water in it. In front, a green grass strip that always seemed to spark the interest of a whitetail cruising through the pines.
Early the next morning, a nice 8-point stepped into the bend of the food plot and stood for a minute. I struggled to get a look at him. He very well may have been a shooter, but I couldn't make myself squeeze the trigger without being 100% sure. For the next hour and a half, I was kicking myself thinking I made a mistake for passing on the buck.
Suddenly, I heard twigs snapping and the distinct sound of whitetails slipping through the pines. I looked to my left and noticed a young back standing at just over 100 yards. After eyeballing him through the scope, I knew he wasn’t a shooter and I set my rifle back on the rail. Less than ten seconds later, another head popped out behind him.
I knew it was unlikely that a doe was following a young buck. My heart raced as the scope revealed great tine length and solid mass. When he stepped into the middle of the lane, I gave him a ''blah" with my mouth and he locked up, looking my way. His impressive headgear and huge body were exactly what I’d been holding out for. I squeezed off the shot, he bucked and lunged forward.
Once I made my way to where he was standing, I found the torn up dirt in the food plot where he lunged. Two steps into the woods, I found great blood and knew it was going to be a quick track job. The bloodtrail led me to the creek.
When I got to the edge of the creek and he wasn't laying there, I got concerned immediately, thinking he had made it up the other side - a 12 foot embankment. Perhaps a short track job wasn’t in the cards.
Fortunately, I couldn't have been more wrong! One step into the creek bottom and I saw his long tines and massive body breaking the surface of the water less than 40 paces to my right.
I was frozen in awe. The image of him laying in the running creek water, rack up, was unforgettable. I was so lost in that moment, all I could do was snap a photo to capture it forever.
I went back to camp and Steve's daughter, Sidney, and her boyfriend, Harris Schwing, helped drag him out of the creek and load him up. I couldn't have asked for a better morning than to spend it with my friends.
Photo: Sidney Sceroler.
Photo: Sidney Sceroler.
Thanks to Steve, Rhonda, Sidney and Mallory Sceroler for their unbelievable hospitality and friendship. Many thanks as well to my newest hunting buddy, Harris, for letting me be a part of their lives and their family hunting ground. I've got some special memories for life that we captured and shared together.