If this Texan’s smokepole had fired the first time, he’d have gone home with a much smaller deer.
Logan Wilson of Decatur, Texas, says he’d never have hunted deer in central Kansas without his father Rodney’s influence.
He and his three brothers, David, Rick and Randy, learned early on that Texas might have an enviable population of deer, but it isn’t the only state that has them. They routinely accompanied their father across the state, into Kansas and to Colorado.
“We hunt everywhere we can, from the plains to the mountains,” Logan said. “My dad is 86 now, and he doesn’t always go with us. But the lessons he taught us are always with us, wherever we go.
“Dad still hunts around home,” he added. “And he still gets a deer every year.”
By example, Rodney Wilson instilled a work ethic in his boys. In fact, being fearless of hard work led Rick Wilson to Kansas, where he took part in the annual wheat harvest. He made lots of friends there, which opened the door for him and his brothers.
The Wilsons have hunted half a section – 320 acres – for five years. In 2014, they failed to draw nonresident rifle tags, which forced them to try something new.
“We decided to try muzzleloader,” Logan said. “None of us had ever used one, but we thought it would give us a solid chance to draw tags.”
Logan picked up a blackpowder rifle, and they all started practicing.
“I was comfortable out to 150 yards,” he said.
Logan, his brother David and a family hunting buddy, Danny Neighbors, arrived a day early and erected a couple of tripod stands and a popup blind. They concealed the stands among short cedar trees skirting cornfields.
“On the first morning, three of us got onto a UTV, and we dropped off, one by one,” Logan said. “Nine does and two young bucks materialized out of the dark at about 30 yards from me. One of the bucks was about a 140, but I was looking for a bigger one.”
Logan didn’t have to wait long. About 8:30, a huge 170-class buck stepped out of the cornfield. Logan had shot a 163 in 2013, so he knew this one was bigger.
Logan readied his muzzleloader as the buck walked slowly into range.
“When it got to 130 yards, I lined up. I just knew I was about to drop it in its tracks,” Logan said. “But the muzzleloader misfired. The primer went off, but nothing else happened. At least it didn’t spook the deer, because it didn’t run; it just kept going.”
Logan trudged back to the parked UTV and put another primer on the gun.
“It didn’t fire either, so I tried a third primer,” he said. “When it fired, I reloaded. I was pretty confident in the gun after that.”
That afternoon, all the hunters saw does and small bucks.
On the second morning, everybody saw deer, but none big enough to trip their triggers.
“I almost switched stands that afternoon, but decided to go back to the same one,” Logan said. “Beforehand, we all talked about not going at all, because it was 90 degrees with a 20-mph wind.
“But then we said, ‘Look, we drove eight hours from Texas, and we only have four or five days to hunt,’” he continued. “We figured we could sit out there as easily as we could sit in the hotel.”
Throughout most of the long, hot and windy afternoon, Logan didn’t see a deer. The sun was so bright that he couldn’t even look to the west from his stand.
“Eventually, as the sun began setting, I looked to the west and saw the back half of a deer only about 80 yards away. It was so big, I knew it had to be a buck, and a big one,” Logan said. “I got the gun ready.”
The big deer shifted enough for Logan to get a glimpse of its headgear.
“I could see the right side of the rack and knew it was heavy with lots of points,” he said. “I probably looked at it for less than a second, dropped the sights on the heart, and squeezed the trigger. Fortunately for me, the gun fired.
“That’s the quickest I ever saw a deer and shot, and I’ve probably shot 200 deer,” he added. “Later, I remembered thinking that when I saw the buck, the wind was blowing from me to it. Knowing it might smell me is partly why I shot so quickly. Also, I had no doubts about how big it was.”
Logan lost sight of the deer when it ran into a draw.
“I decided I ought to reload, but right about then I got the shakes,” he said. “My brother was about 500 yards away, watching me through binoculars. He said it took me at least five minutes to reload.”
Logan didn’t find the buck during his initial walk through the draw. But he stumbled across it during a second pass.
“When I first saw it, I just sat down on the ground,” he said. “I don’t know how long I sat there. I can barely remember field-dressing it.”
Logan returned to his stand and waited there until dark. He soon saw the lights of the side-by-side coming. David and Danny asked him what he’d shot.
“He’s lying down there in the draw,” Logan responded.
“Is he a good one?” they asked.
“He might go 180,” he told them.
“When we got to him, there was a lot of oohing, ahhing and high-fiving,” Logan said. “Then it was time to take care of the animal. There was no cold storage for 50 miles, and no trees to hang it from. We wound up quartering the deer on a flatbed trailer in the dark, so we could get the meat into coolers.”
His first phone call was to his father.
“I called my dad. He congratulated me and said I hunted more than anybody he knew and deserved to get a buck like that,” Logan said. “That was the best part of the whole thing.”
This article was published in the October 2016 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
• The Exception: This Nebraska couple had agreed not to hang a shoulder mount in their home, but they didn’t chisel it in stone.
• Michigan Milestone: The deer gods care not for how many years are under your belt, nor how many notches are in it.
• Nine Days in October: A forward shift in season dates makes choosing easier for this Iowa hunter.