Hunter Horne continues family hunting tradition
Jan. 26, 2001
When it comes to hunting, nobody has a more appropriate name than 9-year-old Hunter Horne. Horne has been going to the woods with his dad, Steve, and grandfather, Tommy Horne, for years. Last year was Hunter's first season to carry a rifle while hunting with his dad. And what a season it was!
While hunting just across the state line in Alabama, Hunter killed four bucks. This year has been even better, though. Although he has killed four this year as well, one was a fine trophy.
On a recent hunt Hunter joined his father on a stand. Since they were the only ones hunting that day, Hunter got to pick his stand. Hunter picked a stand that had not been very good this season.
Once they arrived at their hunting area, Steve told Hunter that they had time to go to another stand if he wanted to. Hunter was adamant about hunting this particular stand however. "I've got a feeling about this stand today," Hunter stated forcefully.
After settling in at about 3:30 p.m., the action heated up quickly. Several deer started crossing back and forth across a pipeline.
At 3:45 p.m. a doe streaked across the pipeline with a nice buck in pursuit, too fast for Hunter to get a shot. Steve told Hunter to get his rifle ready because the buck might follow a doe back across. Suddenly, another doe did come running across with the buck close behind.
Horne was ready this time however, as he delivered a well placed shot with his .243 just before the deer disappeared again. Steve saw the buck lurch and was sure of a good hit.
After about a 15-minute wait to make sure the deer wouldn't come running back across the pipeline, they made their way to where the deer had disappeared. Together they entered the adjacent woods and Hunter spotted a large puddle of blood. The rifle had indeed done its job.
Trailing deer after the shot is a skill accomplished through experience and basic woodsmanship. Anyone can shoot a deer, but not everybody is adept in the art of game trailing. Ethical hunters owe it to themselves and the deer to make every possible attempt at retrieving the animal once it is shot.
After trailing the buck through the woods and across the pipeline, the deer followed a trail along a beaver slough. Suddenly the buck's trail went into a swift and deep creek that had 20-foot high banks on either side. At this point they had to get a boat to get to the other side.
With the help of Steve's brother, Jeff, they got a boat and eventually made it across the creek well after dark.
Once on the other side they could find no trail. The earlier excitement gave way to despair. The deer might not have made it across the creek after all. After splitting up and searching for the trail they had
just about given up when Steve picked up sign in some open hardwoods.
By this time the blood was only showing as pin-head size drops. As they got down on their hands and knees to follow the trail the situation looked bleak
indeed. Several times they almost gave up.
After going through cane and briar thickets, the deer crossed yet another deep creek bottom that was bordered by a cliff and steep banks.
They searched across the creek in both directions and then backtracked, finally finding the large buck in a cane thicket.
Although Hunter had made a fine shoulder shot that did the buck in, it had taken the group 6 hours to
locate the deer. The buck sported a fine 9-point rack, weighed 160 pounds and was 8 and 1\2 years old.
Young Hunter Horne had taken the buck of a lifetime while carrying on the family deer hunting tradition.
Mike Giles is an Outdoors writer for The Meridian Star.