Fort Worth hunter Paul Breedlove was excited to head to West Texas with his brother, Kent, and dad, David, for a mule deer hunt near Midland.
He should have been.
Paul harvested a big buck opening morning, making a great shot in the process.
“We had seen a couple of big bucks in year’s past in this area,” David, an oilfield director, said. “We hadn’t seen this buck, but we got up on a ridge and started glassing — nothing. We started driving south and saw a big buck by one of our wells in a pile of caliche about 500 yards off.”
The hunters had a choice to make. The only way to approach the buck without being seen was to come directly upwind.
“I was afraid he would spook,” David said. “But we decided to chance it and got to within 300 yards. Then the buck disappeared. We drove around the caliche pile and no deer. We were talking out loud wondering where the buck could have gone. We looked all over that caliche pile.
“I told the boys to be ready and I started to climb the little mound.”
On David’s second step on the caliche pile the buck exploded less than five yards away.
“The deer popped up at 10 feet,” Paul said. “It was pretty exciting. We were all so surprised.”
“It scared the heck out of us,” he said. “Paul got setup on the shooting sticks and I told Paul he would stop. I was hoping it would be at 75 yards, but the ran 225 yards before looking back. I asked Paul if he could take him and he said he could.”
At that point, the deer took off running again. It was now or never for the young hunter.
“Paul hit him running right in the shoulder,” David said. “He did a 90-degree about face and limped behind a berm. A finishing shot was needed, but Paul made a great shot on a really tough animal.”
When the group made their way to the downed buck, they couldn’t believe the size of the deer.
“When he first jumped up, I just thought it was really cool and he was a nice buck,” Paul said. “But when we walked up to him and I saw him, he was bigger than I thought.”
Even dad was stunned at how big a deer his son had just shot.
“I couldn’t believe it,” David said. “For a first buck, he was a great deer. We did a victory dance and whooped and hollered. We could barely drag the deer through the sand to the truck and we had a rough time getting him onto the lift.”
The group tagged the deer and met the local game warden on the way out of the ranch.
“The game warden was checking another group of hunters with a nice buck,” David said. “He was very courteous, checked us and asked us to let us know if we see anything suspicious. It is great to know there is law enforcement out there looking out for us.”
The big buck was a typical 10-point with good mass and a 24-inch outside spread.
“It was really exciting,” Paul said.
So who gets to shoot the next big buck in the family?
“Mom is going to get the next one,” said David’s wife Kelly.
David said the rest of the hunt went well, although the group did not get another shot.
“Paul was on cloud nine the rest of the hunt,” David added. “We hunted for another couple of days trying to get Kent a deer, but we only saw one more good buck on the last morning before legal shooting light.
“But it was a hard hunt and we had a great time.”