Most autumns, 44-year old Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game warden Eric Minter is stopping other hunters to look at the bucks in the back of their pick-up trucks.
Not this week – other hunters in the headbone rich Lone Star State have been stopping Minter to take a look at the bruiser buck riding shotgun in his truck.
That’s because this past Monday the Kaufman County lawman found himself as the lucky hunter staring down the buck of a lifetime from a Gorilla treestand hung 20 feet high in a creek bottom filled with acorn dropping white oaks.
When all was said and done, it was Minter putting his own tag on a whopper 27-point non-typical buck.
While there is no firm green score number on the multi-tined monster yet, one look at the photos from the buck would lead one to believe that this deer will score well above the 200-inch mark on the non-typical side of the scoring sheet.
“I’ve been kind of leery of telling everybody just yet because I don’t know what he scores and I don’t want to guess and it be a lot lower or higher than I expected,” Minter said. “But this is unbelievable.”
Some observers who have looked at the whitetail think it’s possible that the Minter buck could potentially challenge the existing Pope & Young Club state record non-typical in Texas, a 225 7/8 inch buck taken by bowhunter Jeffery L. Duncan on the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge back in 2001.
Not bad for Minter’s first bow buck.
“I started bowhunting probably six years ago,” Minter said. “My thinking was that bow season would give me another 30 days in the woods to deer hunt. (But) I never dreamed I would do anything like this with my bow.”
Over that six year span, Minter has become pretty proficient with his stick-and-string, arrowing a couple of does and “…lots of (wild) pigs” roaming through the wilds of Kaufman County located just east of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
A TPWD game warden since 1997, Minter admits that bow season up until this point in time has primarily served as “scouting time” for his rifle hunting efforts since he is a married man of 13-years and a father of three boys including 4 1/2 year old twins.
Besides, he laughs, he tends to be pretty busy during the general deer season making sure that other hunters are on the up and up in their own deer hunting efforts.
“There are pluses and minuses to working and hunting in the same county,” Minter said. “ I can go to my lease at just about any time, but I can also get called out just about anytime.
“I might have an off-day and think today is perfect and I’m going to hunt, but then I can get in my stand and be there for 30 minutes and hear a shot in a direction where there shouldn’t be a shot and off I’ve got to go (to check things out).”
Despite getting to his modest sized lease a few minutes later than he wanted to this past Monday, Oct. 19, Minter had plenty to anticipate thanks to deer movement he, his lease members, and neighboring property owners had observed over the previous weekend.
After climbing into his stand, it didn’t take long for the early morning action to heat up quickly as shooting time arrived on the watch.
Thanks to the abundant acorns, a steady stream of does and small bucks kept the warden entertained. In fact, Minter noted that about 8 o’clock that morning, there were “…eight or nine deer in front of his stand…” chowing on the sweet white oak nuts.
Less than a half-hour later, however, things got much more serious as Minter looked up to see a large bodied buck cruising the edge of a thick line of timber leading towards the open oak flat he was overlooking.
Despite his best efforts, the bowhunter couldn’t get a clean look at the buck’s rack other than to note that there were several silhouetted points coming off one of the main beams.
If there was any doubt in Minter’s mind about the caliber of the buck he was looking at, his ears soon told him all he needed to know.
“(The) does started freaking out and running and this dude let out a grunt like I had never heard before,” Minter said. “He grunted like that twice.
“When I heard him, I thought ‘Golly, he’s got to be the biggest thing out there.’”
Little did he know.
Especially when the deer ran off and disappeared after the does leaving the warden to wonder how he was going to explain what he had just witnessed to his other hunting buddies.
Ten minutes later, he wouldn’t have to wonder any more as the buck reappeared.
“He came back into the opening and came right up (towards my stand) at about 30 yards,” Minter said. “The sun still hadn’t really cleared the tops of the trees yet so it was still kind of dark under the tree canopy. All I could make out was that he had two drop tines and that he was wide.”