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My First Buck
By Steve Mahurin

It was shortly after daylight November 16, 1962 and I was gazing down with pride at my first Whitetail Buck, which was an 8 Pointer with 2 small kickers making it a legal 10 pointer. As I pondered the beauty of this animal I reflected on the events leading up to this thrilling moment. I was 24 years old and had just taken my first big game animal. My saga had begun two years earlier.

I first met Burk Burkenhoff when introduced to him by my wife when I picked her up at the end of the bus line in Houston Texas. Burk didn't drive so I began dropping him off at his home as well. we began talking about deer hunting and that I'd always wanted to deer hunt. Burk offered to teach me what he knew. So for two seasons I drove us there, and he taught me how to track and read sign. The second season was about to end when we decided to go on a day lease hunt, of which we had been doing from the beginning of our changing a know nothing city boy into a fairly decent hunter. That morning culminated in a major disappointment. We had encountered some bad experiences before but this was by far the worst. that morning when daylight dawned I could see five other hunters from my stand.

Afterward I told Burk that next year I'd have my own lease or I wouldn't be hunting. Burk said he had a cousin in Youkum, Texas who had a small farm of about 400 acres, that had a few deer on it. So as luck would have it, on opening day of the 1992 season I was hunting on my own lease. we had spent some weekends scouting and building stands. During those weekends of further schooling and learning, that spooked city boy, who when sitting around a campfire at night looking out at the glowing eyes in the edge of the light, wondering what they belonged to, and if maybe it was something that might want to climb into the blankets with me.

Later in the night ,the ear splitting scream of a Bobcat down the creek bed startled me into sleeplessness that was hard to shake. Finally the time came to shake off the stiffness and trudge through the dark woods to my tree stand. As I sat in the dark a strange occurrence began to unfold before me. Suddenly out of the darkness, sweeping toward me was a white object. Absolute silence prevailed but it came closer and closer. Suddenly it was perched on a limb less than a foot from my head. This silent apparition turned out to be a Snowy Owl. Thought I was gonna pass out I was so startled.

Later as the world seemed to come to alive I was able to enjoy the chirping and fluttering of the birds and watch a couple of squirrels scampering around and thru my tree. Suddenly standing right where I'd just looked was the first Whitetail I'd ever seen in the wild With thudding heart I looked down the barrel of my open sighted Marlin 30/30. I fired and the buck bolted away from the opening and into the brush. I sat for 30 minutes, as I'd been taught, before I began to try and follow up the animal, hoping all the while I'd find him a few yards into the brush. As I checked for sign I could find no blood or anything else to indicate a hit. With sinking spirit I thought how could I have missed. After over a hundred yards I found my buck dead behind a screen of Youpon bushes, bringing me back to the beginning of this narrative.

Written by Steve Mahurin on November 14, 1997.

First Buck

Steve Mahurin
25 North Heights
La Marque, Texas 77568


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