Don't tell that to Tyler's Bill Blomdahl, who has taken the lead in the South Texas Adult Division of the Tyler Morning Telegraph's 32nd annual Big Buck Contest with a 10-point McMullen County scoring 173 3/8 gross.
The buck was actually a main frame 8, but had a kicker point on each side measuring a combined six inches. As a straight 8 the buck scored a whopping 167 3/8 inches.
It had a 19 1/8 inside spread, a 27 7/8 longest main beam and a longest tine of 12 7/8 inches. The greatest circumference at the base was 5 3/8 inches.
Blomdahl's son-in-law, Dalton Spivey of Katy, has taken second place in the division with an 11-pointer from the same lease that scored 155.
“It was an unusual year with a terrible drought most of the year and then some much- needed rain started as the 2011 deer hunting season began in South Texas. Early on we did not see many mature bucks and even after the rut was in full gear, we only saw a small handful of big bucks compared to what we normally have seen in previous years,” the hunter said.
Blomdahl actually was lucky because the buck was first spotted by another hunter, but instead of taking a shot the hunter waited for it to come closer, which it never did.
Blomdahl was able to extend his hunt a few days and immediately started looking for the big buck and another he had seen last year. After four days of searching, he had nothing to show for his effort.
“After thinking I was going home empty handed this year, finally, in the last hour of daylight of my last hunt, my buck stepped out of the brush approximately 150 yards from where I was sitting and immediately I knew he was a huge buck,” he said.
But it wasn't going to be a quick ending.
Not wanting to shoot the deer from behind, Blomdahl continued to watch until the buck finally stopped and turned to nibble grass on the sendero.
“That was my only chance for a broadside shot and I took it. My gun cracked the silence and my sight was temporarily blocked by the recoil of the rifle, but soon I could see my buck lying in a heap on the ground. I was so thrilled that I actually started shaking with buck fever and it took several minutes to steady my nerves,” he recalled.
Spivey's deer made him wait until the last minute as well and by the time the buck finally showed, Spivey said he was past the point of disappointment and frustration and had become angry that the buck remained a no-show.
“We started the hunts on Monday evening and didn't end until Thursday evening. We had heard of a big 10 point in the area I was hunting and so committing to finding it was my top priority. I hunted morning, noon and evening hunts each day for it. And as it always seems to go, I finally got a look at my deer 20 minutes before the day ended on Thursday,” Spivey said.
“I could tell he was smart because when he came out, he huddled up close to a younger buck before he hugged the brush line for five minutes, not allowing us to get hardly a look at him,” Spivey said.
Getting eye fatigue and stiff from watching the buck while trying not to move, Spivey dropped his guard and took his eye off the deer for a second.
“I remember being told when I was first learning to hunt to never take the crosshairs off the animal in case you get only one chance to shoot. I got back on him and just in time, too. As soon as I got him in my crosshairs, he presented himself broadside to me and quickly started across the sendero to an area that I would have lost him in. As he was walking I started squeezing the trigger knowing that if I didn't shoot in the next couple seconds, he'd be gone and I'd be going home empty handed the next morning,” Spivey said.
In the split second before Spivey pulled the trigger, the buck started quartering toward him.
“Right when I thought, ‘Oh ——, I'm about to lose this shot,' the crosshairs landed on his left shoulder and the gun went off,” the hunter recalled.
The buck had an inside spread of 16 3/8 and a longest main beam of 23 4/8. The longest tine measured 10 1/8 inches and the greatest circumference measurement was 5 5/8.
The two deer knocked Brad Morris of Flint from the standings. Morris had been leading with a 10-point Dimmit County buck scoring 139 6/8.
James Wilson of Flint leads the division with an 11-point, velvet-horned Henderson County buck scoring 156 3/8. George Garvey of Frankston is second with an Anderson County 12-pointer scoring 153 2/8.
Whitehouse's Marlo Bitter leads the Women's Division with a 9-point Llano County buck scoring 122 6/8. Flint hunter Kim Oldham is second with an 8-point Concho County buck that scored 113 1/8.
Mason Barker of Bullard leads the North Texas Youth Division with an 8-point Smith County buck scoring 138 6/8. Andrew Bergfeld, 10, Tyler, is second with a San Saba County 10-pointer scoring 135 6/8 and Austin Tarrant, 16, LaRue, is third with a Henderson County 10-point buck scoring 126 2/8.
Sydney Morris, 10, Flint, is first in the South Texas Youth Division with an 8-point buck on the same ranch that scored 128 5/8.
Contest sponsors are: Army/Navy Store of Tyler, 1201 E.SE. Loop 323; East Texas Seed, Cotton Belt Rail Yard; Lynch's Food Store, 3400 E. Fifth; Mac's Gun Shop, 213 E. Elm; Noonday Gun Trader, 14674 U.S. 155 South; and Still Life Taxidermy, 1415 E. Tyler St., Athens.
All deer to be entered in the contest must be taken to either Still Life Taxidermy or Lynch's Food Store.