Forty-year-old coat, a freebie, is still this Arkansas hunter’s good luck charm.
In 1933, with interest rates prohibitively high on loans, the federal government enacted the Farm Credit Act and established the Production Credit Association. The association provided low-interest, short-term credit to farmers, ranchers and other rural residents.
“It was either in 1973 or 1974 when the association gave all customers an orange coat and orange vest,” said Stanley Chastain of Holly Grove, Arkansas. Stanley got the coat, and his father got the vest.
“In 1980, I was wearing that orange coat when I shot a buck that scored in the 150s. From then on, that became my lucky coat,” he said.
The jacket has maintained its status. In fact, Stanley’s friends and family are trying to get him to put it up for auction.
The second milestone for Stanley and his coat came in 2009. Arkansas has an annual three-day Christmas hunt, which begins on Dec. 26. Conditions weren’t optimal for the hunt that year.
“It had rained 5 inches, and all the streams were out of their banks,” Stanley recalled. “My niece, who coaches basketball in Mississippi, was home for the hunt. Because she hadn’t seen anything the first day, she wanted to switch stands.”
About 3:30 p.m. on the second day of the hunt, Stanley donned his favorite coat and drove to the stand his niece usually hunts.
The setup overlooked a cut soybean field, and sweet potatoes were across a nearby creek.
Stanley parked alongside a fencerow, got out of the vehicle and started walking toward the stand. En route, he saw a small 4-pointer crossing the field.
“As the little buck headed across the field from my right, a big buck came into the field and walked toward it,” he said. “I was watching and wondering what they would do when they met, but they didn’t do anything; just kept walking.”
Stanley made his way to a spot where he could get a shot at the big buck. And when the whitetail stopped broadside to him, Stanley shouldered his .270.
“I put the crosshairs on it, pulled the trigger, and there was a snap,” he said. “I hadn’t loaded!
“I finally managed to get two cartridges into the gun,” he continued. “The buck was only about 120 yards away when I shot.”
The deer immediately dropped, but Stanley kept peering at it through his scope, ready for a follow-up if the fallen animal exhibited any sign of life. When he was finally satisfied it was dead, he called his son, who was duck hunting with four friends.
They were more than happy to help in the retrieval of the 13-point Typical, which wound up scoring 1894/8 inches (BTR composite).
“My son and his friends were good with social media. By the time we carried the buck back to the farm, there were 10 or so people there,” Stanley said. “They kept coming until 10 or 11 p.m.”
Four years later, just before the 2013 Christmas hunt, Stanley and his brother were checking game cameras.
“We were looking at pics — a few bucks and some does — and then we came across a really big buck photographed at 3:00 and 3:30 a.m.,” he said. “They were side views, so we couldn’t tell exactly how big it was.”
The buck had been caught on camera near Stanley’s niece’s favorite stand. His son had replaced the older stand with a new two-person model.
While Stanley’s son was away on vacation with his family, Stanley texted him a trail camera image.
“I told him I would probably not see the deer in the daytime, but I was going to hunt that stand anyway,” he said. “On the first day of the 2013 season, that’s where I went.”
He was wearing his lucky orange coat.
“I saw an 8-pointer, and then four small does, a spike and a 3-pointer,” he said. “Then, for a little while, there was nothing.
“I eventually looked to my right, and a big buck stepped out 30 yards into the field,” he continued. “I studied it, and I realized it was standing almost exactly where my 2009 buck was when I shot it.”
Stanley later determined it was actually 30 yards from that spot.
After the bang, the buck made five or six hops and disappeared into the adjacent woods. Stanley stayed put for 40 minutes before getting down to look for blood, and only then because daylight was fading.
“I walked to where the deer had been standing, and there was no blood,” he said. “I walked to the edge of the woods ... nothing.
“When I went back to the house, everybody was ribbing me about missing the big buck from the trail camera,” he continued. “My brother-in-law (Dennis Wilson of Ragtown) had killed a nice 8-pointer. After they took care of that, everybody wanted to eat. We had some nice ribeye steaks.
“I couldn’t eat, though,” he added. “I was sick about that buck.
“After everybody else had eaten, they said enough time had gone by to look for my deer. About six or seven of us went,” he said.
Soon after the men began searching by flashlight, Stanley heard someone shout they’d found blood. Moments later, they found the deer.
“I just remember the awesome sight of my buck on the ground, along with a bunch of grown men jumping around and hollering,” he said.
The 14-pointer tallied 188 (composite), almost as big as his 2009 giant.
Just as before, photos were shared via social media. And more than 50 people came to the farm shop to see the trophy buck.
“They are trying to get me to auction off my coat,” Stanley grinned. “But I don’t think I will.”
This article was published in the August 2017 edition of Rack Magazine. Subscribe today to have Rack Magazine delivered to your home. Read Recent RACK Articles:
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