Brown gets early Christmas present

Published 12:01 am Sunday, December 25, 2011

Submitted photo — Danny Brown killed this nine-point buck Tuesday morning at Elgin Plantation. The buck weighed in at 171 pounds.

NATCHEZ — Natchez resident Danny Brown got an early Christmas present Tuesday morning, and if everything went according to his plan this week his family will be eating that present for Christmas today.

Brown harvested a nine-point buck that weighed in at 171 pounds early Tuesday morning at Elgin Plantation. But Brown was forced to earn his trophy, and it took some skilled hunting tactics and a little bit of prayer to bring home the buck.

Brown woke at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning to check the weather and prepare to head out to Elgin Plantation, and he almost ended up not making in out at all that morning, he said.

“I wasn’t feeling well,” he said. “I got sick and thought about not going.”

Brown decided he wasn’t feeling too bad and drove to his hunting grounds. He posted up beside a tree on a hill at approximately 5:50 a.m. He had seen signs that told him a buck had been present in the area recently, he said.

By 6:20 a.m. he had enough daylight to start shooting and begun a series of calls. He started with a heat bleat can, which simulates the sounds of a doe in heat. He then used his grunt call and followed that with a challenge wheeze, which simulates the sound of a buck ready to fight.

Before Brown could remove the challenge wheeze from his lips he noticed a large deer approximately 40 yards below him at the bottom of the hill. He could not tell if the deer was a buck or a doe, because the heavy vines below blocked his vision of the entire deer, he said.

“With the call still on my lips, (the deer) dropped its ears, bristled up and started walking sideways in front of me to come around and wind me,” Brown said.

Brown placed his scope on the deer and realized that this deer was a “shooter,” he said.

“I like to wait until a deer is 3 1/2 years or older to harvest,” he said.

Brown pulled the trigger and placed the shot between the deer’s shoulder blade and its back, he said.

“It immediately hit the ground,” he said. “Then it jumped up and ran out of sight. That scared me to death.

“I had a huge adrenaline rush for a couple of minutes. Then I started shaking and started to pray. I knew I hit the deer, and I prayed to let it be a clean harvest.”

Brown said it is very important for him as a hunter to secure a clean kill each time.

“It means everything,” he said. “I pray I have a clean hit or a clean miss. I would rather miss than nick the deer. I take it seriously.”

From 6:45 a.m. to 7 a.m. Brown spent his time calling family and friends without much luck and smoking a couple of cigarettes to calm his nerves, he said.

Then he decided it was time to try to track down what he hoped was his kill. He spent 15 minutes tracking the blood trail the deer left behind before he found the dead buck.

“I saw him and he was much bigger than I thought,” he said. “I saw him, poked him to make sure he was dead and then I laid my gun down. I was on such a high that I hit my knees and thanked God for the harvest. I was pumped.”

Brown’s good luck ran out as he was leaving the hunting ground, however.

“I ran over a log with vines and rotten stuff above the road, and the vines and rotten stuff fell out of the tree and shattered my windshield,” he said. “I looked back at the buck and said, ‘You just cost me $100.’”

Brown took the deer to be processed and said he hoped to have the meat back in time for Christmas lunch.

The deer was Brown’s second kill this season and his first buck.

Brown said he started hunting at the age of 7 with his grandfather R.P. Carter. But it was not until the age of 20 that he killed his first deer.

“I’ve learned a lot since the age of 7,” he said. “I’ve learned the importance of hunting the wind, learning how deer act and react. I have a passion for it now.”

Brown said he has a vision of the perfect buck that he hopes to see before he hangs up his rifle.

“I see a deer somewhere in the woods, a monster deer,” he said. “And it’s a cold and frosty morning, and I see him standing there and see his nostrils flaring and the steam coming out. I am still waiting on that one.”

Brown said the closest he has come to that perfect deer was in 2003 when he shot a 16-point cactus buck that was still in full velvet.

A cactus buck is one that has horns that grow 365 days a year and the velvet remains on the antlers. It is caused by a lack of testosterone.

Brown said he lives in a family of hunters that includes his wife Dee, his 11-year-old daughter Danielle Marie and his two sons Joshua Ray, 16, and Tristan, 27.

“I think it’s important for youth to be hunting, because it keeps them off the street,” he said.

Brown said he raised his children as hunters, and his next goal is to be there when his daughter gets her first kill.