Wimmens. Deer Variety

On The Back Page With Daryl Gay

Daryl Gay | December 30, 2023


So come on and admit it: a totally dismissive attitude crept unsummoned into your brainbox  immediately upon reading the word.

I get it; skinheaded whitetails don’t get no respect. Been there. And got over it. For the most part.

Sure, I’d still rather see something wearing a bundle of bones on its head come traipsing through the trees; but my freezer files no complaints upon receiving 2-lb. tubes of processed female.

In my mind’s eye—from more than 50 years ago—remains one of the most fascinating images it ever recorded. Starring roles in the scene went to a trio of ladies fair.

Whitetails all. Here’s the tale; as well as a few more to boot.

What Daddy knew about deer hunting would fit in a .410 hull. And he cared less. Yo, we didn’t even HAVE a deer season in my county back then. But he would have driven to the ends of the earth so that we could hunt—anything—together.

So what’s 70 or so miles to a county that DOES have a deer season? And deer. Allegedly. Somewhere. It even features a WMA open to the public. Somewhere. In all this pouring rain…

Cruising in a 1959 no-frills Ford pickup that he made his living out of. And what if we didn’t have a high-powered rifle—a what?—like all those big-game busters I was always reading and raving about? The 16-gauge Model 12 will do just fine. Saturday morning, and we need to be working on that addition to the Mullis house? It’ll wait. Until tonight. After the hunt…

Now, how we gonna get there without a GPS? (A what?) Who knows; but we did…

Somewhere in Jones County—and I couldn’t find it now with three GPSs and a National Guard battalion—we rounded, sideways, a curve on a grease-slick, red clay, high-banked road. On a rise to our left stood, motionless in the mist, three female whitetail deer. I can still see the white throat patches as they froze, heads held high, eyeballing the red and white monstrosity wriggling down their road.

And the 9-year-old idjit clawing at a Model 12 while attempting to leap out the passenger window.

Fortunately, Daddy had a death grip on said Winchester and proceeded to explain, in no uncertain terms, fair chase. Not to mention roughly 47 legal counts to be faced if I got my way…

Yep, that’s where it all started. Beauty is defined many ways; them old gals had ’em all.

The LARGEST doe I ever saw—and I really don’t recall a close second—came eight days after son Myles’ 10th birthday. We were in a condominium of a stand about 20 feet off the ground when a half-dozen walked directly beneath us.

One had obviously been pushing the rest away from the buffet, and I pointed her out. If things went right, it was to be his first deer, taken with the birthday-special, bull-barreled .243 he’d had but a week to practice with.

He was a tad nervy; I needed a quart of ’shine. But when pin hit primer, big gal’s nose hit the dirt. It happened THAT quick. Never knew a 100-grain bullet was a grenade. Truly, I developed a ton of respect for that little gun.

Which, by the way, he won’t go to the deer woods without 20 years later…

So what do you do with your little girl’s big doll house when she becomes too big a girl for her little doll house?

Since the Lord knew I was too dumb to raise girls and so blessed me with sons, I don’t have a conclusive answer to that query.

Friend of mine, however, does: you put it on stilts at the edge of a field and use it as a deer blind.


It MIGHT have been a tad small for son Dylan and me to perch in even when he was nine, but we shoehorned our way and huddled with high hopes as daylight faded.

He wielded a borrowed Remington youth model .243—which must have weighed 40 pounds—and so you know the doe came out on the right side. Exactly the wrong side.

Take my word for it boys: you don’t do much finagling around in a little girl’s doll house.

So, knowing this femme fatale had the right to change her mind, we waited her out. Over about 10 years, she at last moseyed to where he could get a shot.

A 150-yard shot. He was cool and confident; I needed a half-gallon of ’shine.

He squeezed, she tumbled, and I leapt upward to thrust both hands skyward in triumph.

And still have the scars to prove it. That doll house was built SOLID!

His first deer, my first concussion, a couple of loose raftersand well worth the price…

Sometimes, me and the ladies just call it a draw. Like the time I was still-hunting, sneaking behind a buck that somehow managed to keep his head hidden with every step. It was as if he knew something wasn’t quite right but refused to kick in the afterburners.

For my part, the only thing moving was my heart, and for a while there I wasn’t too awful sure that scenario was going to continue.

He had a good body, but I wasn’t about to burn my last tag of the season on a runt rack.

You know the feeling of having hidden eyes on you, right? That was what was going on.

Not him. ME.

I had been laser-focused on the buck, but happened to glance down. At a doe lying 2 feet from my left boot. Upon eye contact she jumped 10 feet east, I leapt 11 yards west and never the twain met again. At least, I don’t think so…

Purchase Daryl Gay’s Book

Order your copy of Daryl Gay’s book, “Rabbit Stompin’ And Other Homegrown Safari Tactics,” $19.95 plus $3 S&H for each order, from 16 Press, 219 Brookwood Drive, Dublin, GA, 31021.

Become a GON subscriber and enjoy full access to ALL of our content.

New monthly payment option available!


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.