If you ever want to hunt whitetail or turkey in the great state of Mississippi, you need to schedule a time to go to the great city of McBride and hunt on the Smith Family Farm. Spencer Smith is an old friend of mine who I have been trying to hunt with for about a year now. We tried to hunt together last year and the timing just did not work out. But luckily it did this year.
His family has a farm in rural Mississippi that has been in the family for over 60 years. It has a ton of land that has been well taken care of during that time. The family uses the property to hunt and so they have put in some food plots and put in a ton of deer stands. Around the property, you have a National Forest, land managed by a timber company, and land owned by another family. The family home is being rehabbed by Spencer and the rest of his family right now. Parts of the home are over 100 years old, but the home has been well maintained. You would never guess the home is that old.
Spencer’s Mom Ramona decided to come along and she was a fantastic addition for the hunt. I loved having her there. She had some fantastic stories and made the camp a ton of fun. When I say camp, what I really mean is we had hot meals that Ramona made for us, she did laundry for us, and made sure we had a warm bed and hot shower every day. I loved this approach to hunting and it made the experience truly a joy.
So, Day I we hunted hard. We went out early and came home late. We saw a ton of sign but never connected with the deer. Here is a view from the deer stand that we hunted in the p.m. that sits over what Spencer called his “Deer Superhighway”.
The hunt was great that day and Ramona made us some fantastic food. I wanted to all of my hunts to to be supported this way and told Ramona she would need to come on our hunts with us in Utah from now on.
Day II was another amazing day. Spencer and I got up way early to get into our spot and didn’t see much so we decided to walk an area that was heavily wooded along a creek. Remember this is in rural Mississippi so this area was almost a swamp. It had been raining heavily for the last week, so it was really, really muddy. We got to the area and decided to separate to cover more area and push deer around a little. Spencer was walking along and saw two does and had the chance to take a shot. This was his first year bow hunting and he went to take the shot and triggered his release early and shot his first arrow about 10 feet. He went to nock a second arrow and started to draw again and his release triggered early again. He never got a good shot off.
We met up and we were sitting in the woods and discussing his missed opportunity. His equipment was about 5 yards away from him at this point. As we were talking, Spencer looked and saw a buck working his way towards us. You have never seen anyone go into stealth mode quicker than we did. We threw on our masks and looked something like this…
Notice the muck boots. They were imperative. Without them I would have been walking around with Trench Foot all week long. It was so wet.
So the buck slowly worked his way towards us until he was 30 yards broadside and was giving me a fantastic shot. I knew he was only going to get further from us and this was the time. I drew my bow and waited until the buck walked into my shooting lane where there was fewer branches and debris in my way. The buck took a couple of more steps and was right where I wanted him to be when he scented us and shot his head up and looked right at me. I released my arrow and POW, BANG, BOOM…nothin’. My arrow went about 6″ below his right shoulder. I missed low. I couldn’t believe it, not at 30 yards. Spencer thought my arrow may have hit a branch on the way to the target, changing the trajectory ever so slightly. In summation, it wasn’t his day to be on my plate. I still can’t believe I missed the shot, but there is a reason they call it hunting and not finding.
The rest of the hunt was about missed opportunities. The Smith Family has a reunion every third Sunday in October that all of their family members attend and it just so happened that occurred this weekend. That means that I got to meet a ton of the Smith family members. They are a great group of people who welcomed me just as if I were one of them. A couple of them have great stories — Spencer’s brother Joel is military who is scheduled to head back to Iraq in January. His cousin Nicky Roberts is a licensed minister who has just started a business that sells tack that can save you some serious money. It is funny how you can immediately feel close to certain people and I did to them. I got to see Spencer’s wife Juany again after about 16 years. Here is the two of them together…
Neither of us got a deer or a turkey, but man it was great to reconnect with Spencer and to meet his family. I loved his Mom, Ramona. She was fantastic to have in camp not just for what she did for us but for the stories she told. The stories of the old South are really cool. I will go back again and again….
Now for the rest of the photos.
Spencer being really excited that he remembered a Dr. Pepper in his bag. That or when I told him I brought some of his Momma’s cookin’ with us in my bag…
Action Mike trying to put the sneak on a huge Mississippi Whitetail that was hiding somewhere out in the woods.
Just a artsy photo of a pine cone on the Mississippi forest floor…
Action Mike taking a quick nap between hunts. It sure is easy to fall asleep when you are propped up against a big old Mississippi Oak Tree. Not that I ever fell asleep. I was attentive the whole time…
Me looking for deer through the thick cover. I know this is kind of a presumptuous photo, but when you are as pretty as I am, you have to post these type of photos.
My pal Spencer Smith and I. You see that tractor? It was almost a source for his divorce. Very interesting story behind it for sure.