Written by Day Ivy, daughter of Mossy Oak's Ken Ivy.
Hunter: Day Ivy
Location: Northeast Mississippi
This year was different than any other year so far. We didn’t really have “a place” to hunt this year. We have been bouncing around in between Una and Truman Creek Rd. where my dad, Ken Ivy, grew up. We really just weren’t having as much success in those places as we would have liked, despite having a few successful hunts, so we racked our brains for another place to hunt.
Then it came to us. My uncle, Jason, and his boys, Caston and Eli, had been hunting out on my grandmother’s land where we also had permission to hunt. We had completely forgotten that spot! As Thanksgiving approached, and we were going out there anyway for brunch, we decided to spend the day out there hunting. We hunted in the morning, stopped for some Thanksgiving food, and then hunted the afternoon.
We saw a few deer, but none that we were able to or wanted to get a shot on. Despite not being able to harvest an animal, we decided that the property was a great place to hunt and we should definitely make that part of our favorite hunting locations. The next day, uncle Jason asked us if we wanted to go hunting on afternoon hunt by the abandoned train tracks. We gratefully agreed to come and laid out a plan for what we were going to do. After he picked us up, my uncle and his youngest son, Eli, who had yet to kill a deer, went to a tree stand on the left side of the railroad tracks. While me and my dad set up on the ground on the right side.
My oldest cousin, Caston was one bottom away from us in a tree stand by himself. We sat down, all camouflaged up, with our Bog Pod tripod and a couple of chairs. We set up on top of the hill with my .270 hoping that some deer would come off of another hill to the left down into a path of trees that made sort of a shooting lane. It was relatively hot and we didn’t expect to see much but we decided to give it a shot.
About an hour or so later, we heard some leaves crunching off behind the hill that was in between the bottom that me and Caston were hunting on. As we looked expectantly towards the hill, I saw a deer’s body flash between two trees. I cocked the hammer back and got ready. Out walked a full grown doe that I would have been more than happy to shoot. Despite it being female, I have never been one to hunt strictly for antlers. I hunt to have fun and put some meat on the table.
Anyway, I took a shot at the doe through some thick limbs and trees, however the thickness of the woods knocked the bullet off course. She didn’t even flinch and just continued on walking despite the loud sound that followed the shot. Then feeling a little disappointing about the miss, two more does came down the hill in the same path as the first. They were smaller, and I wasn’t very intent on trying to pick off a shot.
Then before I knew it, all I could see were huge antlers. A big buck walked out from down the hill right in front of me and I called out a, “Meh,” sound to stop it. It stopped perfectly in the shooting lane that the woods had made, and I took my shot on the deer. With my heart racing, I watched as the deer immediately fell to the ground. Dad encouraged me to sit and calm down to let the deer die, even though I wanted to run down and look. We waited a little while and began our descent down the hill to see where the deer was lying.
We could see his white stomach through the woods, and my dad was prepared to shoot it again in case he was able to get his legs under himself and run away. We made our way through the woods and towards the deer and lo and behold, we found him there, dead as a doornail. As we were counting the antlers (there were nine of them) we heard a loud shot come from the general area in which my younger cousin, Eli, was hunting, we assumed that since we didn’t hear a second shot, Eli knocked down his first deer with his Paw Paw’s 30-30.
We assessed situation and realized that we could not drag the deer back to the house so we met up with my cousins on the track and decided that we would be able to drag Eli‘s deer, but would have to field dress mine. Caston had seen deer but decided that it was best for him to let them walk. This is hard, but Caston, a great hunter himself, knows a hunt is only failed when you fail to hunt.
We dragged Eli’s spike down the railroad tracks in a wagon and my dad and uncle went back into the woods to get the deer and bring it back. As they skinned the fruits of our labor, the three of us and my sister, Wren, sat inside with my grandmother, who we call Cackie, and I called my mom, Ivey, to tell her all about the hunt. After retelling the story to my excited mom, I reflected on the experience.
I was so grateful to have the opportunity to go on this hunt and think it was amazing for many different reasons. Not only was I able to share it with my family, but I was also able to provide food for them. I got to be a part of the unspoken connection that is created by wildlife conservation and woods-to-table experiences. This hunt stands out to me as one of the greatest hunts I’ll probably ever have and definitely won’t be forgotten anytime soon.