Texas Warden Stops Potential Record Buck

Texas game warden Erik Minter stopped this buck earlier this week for carrying too many tines through the woods.

Texas game warden Eric Minter stopped this buck earlier this week for carrying too many tines through the woods.

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.” 

At first, the deer was facing Minter’s position.
But when the buck turned away  and looked to his right, an opportunity arrived for the hunter to draw back his Mathews DXT bow undetected.
Finally, the buck gave Minter the broadside angle that he needed.
“I had some trees marked at 20, 30, and 40 yards and he was the exact distance as my 30 yard tree so I put my 30 yard pin on him, tried not to look at the antlers anymore, and let it go.”
The Carbon Express arrow and Grim Reaper broadhead combination slammed home into the deer’s vitals, causing the buck to drop virtually on the spot. When the deer tried to get up, Minter put a follow up arrow into the buck, bringing a sudden stillness to the woods.
Except for the hunter’s own throbbing pulse rate, that is.
Amazingly, as the woods quieted down, deer started filtering back out to take advantage of the acorn bonanza lying on the ground.
Not wanting to disturb the deer for the sake of the other hunters on his lease, Minter sat patiently for some time.
“I ended up seeing more bucks after I shot him than I had seen all of the other days (this year) combined,” Minter said. “Before it was all over, there were two sevens, a six, a spike, and a good mature 12 that had come in.
When the 12-pointer  finally chased off the last of the feeding does, Minter was able to get out of his stand and see what his arrow had wrought.
What it had wrought is the non-typical buck of a lifetime for any hunter anywhere.
“I had never felt that much emotion deer hunting,” he said of claiming his big-antlered prize. “I never dreamed that I would get a buck of that quality – that’s always something that happens for the other guys.”
Not this time – the 5 1/2 year old buck field-dressing at 165-pounds is wearing Minter’s tag.
“I know there are a lot of guys that put in a lot of work,” Minter said. “I guess I was just in the right place at the right time and some good fortune shined down on me.”
So what does the hunter do now for an encore after killing the biggest buck he may ever see?
First, he says he is looking forward to getting his boys out in the woods over the next few years.
And second, despite the possibility that he may never see a better buck again, he is already looking forward to next year since he enjoys deer hunting so much.
“You know, I had so much fun sitting up there watching those deer come in before the big buck came along,” Minter said. “That was one of better days I had ever had hunting, even before the big deer came along.
Minter admits that in the final analysis, he has experienced a wide range of  conflicting emotions throughout this week.
“I realized that I had taken the best buck that I could ever expect to but I also realized that my hunting season was over now and its only bow season,” he laughed. 
“I guess I’ve got a lot of time to dedicate to work now.”
We should all be so lucky this fall.

About hunting365

Lynn Burkhead is a blessed man who digs being alive to know, live for, and worship the Creator; being married to his babe, Charissa; and being "Dad" to Katie, Zach, and Will. Professionally, he is a nationally recognized outdoor writer who served as an associate editor, senior writer, and blog columnist for the ESPNOutdoors.com Web site for much of this decade. Burkhead has also been a deer hunting columnist and fishing fundamentals columnist for Texas Fish & Game magazine as well as serving as a hunting columnist for Southern Sporting Journal magazine. Finally, he has been a busy freelance writer and photographer for more than a decade with hundreds of byline credits appearing in such places as Bassmaster.com, Bowhunt America, Bowhunter, Buckmasters, Field & Stream, GrandViewOutdoors.com, Great Plains Game & Fish, Louisiana Game & Fish, Lone Star Outdoor News, North American Whitetail, Oklahoma Game & Fish, Outdoor Life, Realtree.com, Rocky Mountain Game & Fish, Texas Sporting Journal, and Texas Sportsman. When time permits, you'll typically find him outside with a bow, a shotgun, a fly rod, or a Nikon camera in his hand. View all posts by hunting365

48 responses to “Texas Warden Stops Potential Record Buck

  • Gary Dugan

    Great Buck Eric.

    • Somethings Funny

      I can tell you right now its a lie he said it was shot on Monday Oct 21 right? Well look at a calander their is no suck date. Now what do you think about the game warden?

      • hunting365

        Easy does it Hondafan5589 before you start calling anyone a liar.

        That was a typo error on MY part as the writer, not the game warden’s part as the hunter.

        If you will notice, the story posted on Wednesday, October 21st. It was my slip in posting the wrong date, not Mr. Minter’s.

        I first heard of the warden’s big kill with a phone message from a mutual friend on the evening of Monday, Oct. 19. The next day, I received two photographs of Mr. Minter’s buck on Tuesday, Oct. 20. I interviewed Mr. Minter on Wednesday, Oct. 21 and then wrote and posted the story that evening.

        Thank you for alerting me to this inaccuracy. It has been corrected. And it stands to show why every writer – including me – needs an editor! 🙂


        Lynn Burkhead

  • Texican

    Awesome buck, great story. You’ve worked hard for this one and you deserve a nice buck. Now, get them boys outside and shoot a bunch of hogs.

  • George

    I am sick and tired of the Texas Game Wardens!! They are the only ones shooting monster bucks in the North Texas area!! They force private property owners into letting them hunt there property by intimidation. They harrass local hunters on petty charges trying to get more information on the big deer. This makes me sick!

    • hunting365

      He was hunting on a private lease.

    • JBM

      I live in Kaufman County and that’s not true about Eric. He is as professional as anyone I have ever meet. Sounds like to me you have an attitude problem. My guess is that you would shoot just about anything that walked in front of you??

    • JOY

      Sounds like you don’t like game wardens in general. My father was a game warden and nothing you have written describes him in the least. Quit whining, get a deer lease and go hunting; it might do you some good!

    • sjdstephenson

      THEY DO NOT!

    • sjd

      you have to be kidding

    • coy worden

      Its obvious that you are a cry baby who wishes you could have killed this buck. If you hunt within the game laws you don’t have to worry about being harrassed. I have a hunt at our family farm every dove season and I welcome Eric to come out to our field anytime to check our hunters or to hunt if he chooses. He has never written a citation(we hunt within the laws),harrassed a hunter,been petty as you say in anyway. He is professional and courteous in every way. If you ever have a chance to meet him you will see that.

    • Dan

      George, you are a freak. You are a blight on the hunting brotherhood. Shame on you. Maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe you’re just having a bad day. Unlikely, though. Your words seem born of a malignant hatred of law enforcement officers. I love game wardens, George. They have one of the coolest jobs in the world.
      Poor George. He can’t help it. He was born with diarrhea in his mouth.

    • Mike Robinson

      you obviously do not know and appreciate Eric and what the TPW do for our hunting. Maybe you need to take hunter education.

    • George McElvy

      Game wardens never “force” anyone to let them hunt on there property. With the jerks we have poching in Texas I am proud of them and what they do to protect wildlife. This does not sound like a native Texan writing this about our game wardens. Notice he did not give his last name, but then do you blame him.
      Keep up the good work Wardens as I was one years ago.

    • James Mason

      Awe,, come on George… we all abide by the same rules. I’ve been hunting Texas since my father took me on my first trip when I was only 6 years old. The big ones dont just jump out in front of you and say “Haaayyy?” Thats why its called “HUNTING”. Just because Minter is a warden doesnt make him better or more priviledged or entitled. If your jealous, just get on the internet and look up some trophy guides in Texas. For the right price, I’m sure they can point you to some clueless trophies for you to shoot. You can pay a hefty price, then I can say “hey,, thats not fair!”. My hats off to Minter and I share in his pride for baggin such a great buck!!!

      Go figure!

  • hunting365

    JBM, I agree with you, from everything I have heard about Eric and from interviewing him on the phone, he seems like as nice a man and sincere a hunter as there is.

    Plus, as I indicated to Mr. George above, Eric was hunting on a private lease that he was paying to be on.

    Eric is a good guy from everything I have gathered and nearly all of that comes from the people who know him.

    Again, he sure came across that way on the phone.

    I offer him my heartiest congratulations on tagging the buck of a lifetime – he seems like a very, very deserving man, the kind of person something like this should happen too.

    Lynn Burkhead

    • Jeff Shields

      I met Mr. Minter this last weekend when he checked me and my grandsons license alothough I had heard of him and his harvest of this great buck I didn’t know that was him. Yes he is very polite and professional in his work. If I would have known that was him I would have probobly bowd at his feet .LOL. I am 45 years old and deer hunted all my life and took a 10 pt. last year and allmost had heart failer. I’m sure he will bring up his boys to be great hunters as himself but they gonna have to work real hard to top there dad. Great hunting Eric and you got my thumbs up.

  • JBM (Again)

    I live inside the City Limits of Kaufman. Late one night I found an injured Owl in my yard. I didn’t know if the Owl would make it or not, so I called the Police Department and it wasn’t 15 minutes until Eric was here to take that Owl to the other side of Dallas. I was very impressed by his knowledge and professionalism in the way he handled himself and the Owl. I loaned him a dog cage so he could have something to carry the owl to Dallas. He returned the cage the next day and came by the following week to let me know that the Owl didn’t make it but he appreciated that I gave him a call. I’m glad we have someone like Eric working Kaufman County and proud that he had a chance to harvest a deer like he killed.

  • SCC

    Congratulations, unbelievable buck! Great article. Your service is appreciated too.

  • Mike Davis

    My hats off to such a fine trophy. Sounds like it couldn’t have happened to a finer gentleman.

    George, you need to get a life!

  • BB

    Congratulations Eric on a fantastic buck and a wonderful story! He sounds like a great guy and a most deserving hunter. I’m thankful to have such outstanding people working hard to protect our state’s awesome natural resources and am glad he had this opportunity to take a little something back for all the hard work he puts in.

  • Robert Heather

    Hunted Kaufman and Henderson county all my life, one heck of a trophy! Congrats Eric

  • JC

    Great buck! Makes me want to move back to Kaufman and do some bow huntin’.

  • Scotty

    George I strongly agree with you! You are SICK!!!!

  • rqw68

    George said: “I am sick and tired of the Texas Game Wardens!! They are the only ones shooting monster bucks in the North Texas area!! They force private property owners into letting them hunt there property by intimidation. They harrass local hunters on petty charges trying to get more information on the big deer. This makes me sick !”


    George: EPIC FAIL with the complaining. If you or anyone you know has been intimidated or threatened by a state or federal employee, a formal written complaint should be made. No one can “force” you into letting them hunt on your property. If they try, you go to their superior. Most cell phones have a voice recorder. There’s your proof. Furthermore, you don’t have to disclose where you’ve seen deer. You can tell them you’ve seen deer 30 miles in the opposite direction if you want to tell them SOMEthing.

    If this is a ruse — which I think is exactly what’s going on here — you are a PUNK who can’t handle that someone else got the big deer. Get over yourself and be glad you’re able to get out and hunt, even if you never bag another deer in your life. There are plenty of people who need assistance just getting out of bed every morning.

    Either way, you need to grow up because in both scenarios, you are being very immature.

  • Johnny

    I heard the deer was hit by a car

    • Dan

      I suspect you’re a liar, little Johnny. You’re just trying to stir the pot after George made his bizarre comments, aren’t you? You didn’t really hear any such thing, did you little Johnny? Poor little Johnny. He doesn’t have a life. Do you, little Johnny?

  • Game Warden Bags Huge Kaufman County Whitetail Buck | Deer Management at Buck Manager

    […] Source: “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. […]

  • Jody Farrell

    Thats awsome Eric.

    • bill waits

      eric has been on my place many times , near where this deer was taken . he has always been very professional and has never even mentioned wanting to hunt. if he had , he would have been welcome.

  • bill waits


  • chris

    Hey George you are probably some white trash poacher who attracts game wardens. Get a life. Congratulations Mr. Minter on a fantastic buck.

  • Dan

    Congratulations, Warden Minter! I sure wish we had more pictures from different angles!

  • Mike

    I teach hunter education in Terrell and have since 1988 and Eric has attended all of our classes but 1 in all those years since he has been Kaufman Co. gamewarden and lined up a sub for that one he missed due to a wedding. He is a class act and takes his job (and the future of all us serious hunters and our kids) very seriously and professionally. He is very passionate about his job and as a long time deer hunter I am happy for Eric. And yes, jealous. Way to go Eric.

  • Mike Robinson

    I have taught hunter education since 1988 and Eric has attended everyone of our classes but one since become Kaufman Co. gamewarden and even line up a substitute for that one while he attended a wedding. It is easy to see that Eric is very professional and very passionate about his job and all of serious/ethical hunters should be happy to have a guy like Eric for our future hunting and future hunting for our kids. Very happy for you Eric…and jealous. Awesome buck.

  • les miller

    thats a heck of a deer but wher is the tag ha ha ha

  • Jason Owens

    Congradulations officer Minter. That is one fine animal! As for George, get a life man! To me the most deserving hunters in the field is a Texas Game Warden. They commit their lives to Texas game conservation. You read where he has to answer the call anytime, that includes family time, time he is sick or just relaxing. If George(and others like George) could commit to conservtion other than raining on somebody’s joy then they too might reap the rewards Officer Minter has.

    Again, congradulations Officer Minter it is just a small reward for the endless service you give us and the state of Texas!

  • Vic


    Great story and congratulations! Well done!!

  • Branden Dodd

    That is a great deer Eric congrats he had just about as many points as tickets yall used to give me ha ha

  • George McElvy

    This George who ever, notice no last name, must be from another state. With all the jurks we have poching in Texas the wildlife needs all the help it can get. Keep up the good work wardens. I was a deputy in Montgomery county many years ago and understand what they, the wardens have to put up with.

  • Caroline

    Great job Eric. Very proud of you. But there is one thing…….with you killing that monster, it only leaves the rest of us with the left overs. LOL I think it’s awesome.

  • Steve H

    George, I think you need an Anger management class. And probaly a 12 Step program also.Real!! Nice buck Eric. And thank you for your service.

  • Dan

    George – just turn in all your hunting stuff, and you won’t have to worry…what a, well you know. Game wardens are like the rest of us, most good people, i am sure a few bad apples, but you really have to turn the basket over to find them. I admire and appreciate them very much. The laws are clear and they are fair – if you violate them you deserve a ticket as much as you do if you are speeding with a posted limit. Take responsibility for your self!

  • Jeff Shields

    Thumbs up to Mr. Minter, great kill. I met him this last weekend as he checked my grandson and my liscense. I knew about him and his kill but I didn,t reallize that was him. Seems like a great guy and obviously hes doing something right to bag that big ol good un. Great job Mr. Minter.

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