Hard Hunting Pays Off With a Book Buck on Opening Weekend

Ronnie Parsons is not your average deer hunter. The 68-year-old bowhunter from Lubbock, Texas, thinks about deer 24/7, 365. For decades he has hunted the same working cattle and sheep ranch on the western edge of the Texas Hill Country. He shares the lease with other like-minded bowhunters, managing the ground for trophy bucks. The lease hunters cull excess does when needed and pass young bucks in hopes that they will reach their full potential.

In the off-season, Parsons fills protein feeders, keeping bucks and does healthy through the unpredictable weather patterns of the Texas drought. He fixes up his ground blinds that calls "condos" and are constructed of old wooden fencing materials. Batteries are replaced on corn feeders, solar panels repaired, shooting lanes trimmed, the list goes on and on. He makes shooting a big buck every year look easy. It isn't; it takes work. Details are important for success, and Parsons minds the details.

On opening weekend, Sunday September 29, Parsons sat a familiar spot. The landscape around it was typical Texas scrub: large oaks on a dry creek used by turkeys to roost, prickly pear cactus, mesquites and yuccas poking out of rocky, thirsty Texas soil. His target was an old buck he'd watched for three seasons he name Crooked Horn.

The ranch received 2-3 inches of rain the week before, so with the green-up of tender weeds and sprouts, the deer were not hitting corn feeders like usual. Parsons hoped at least one of the big bucks he'd seen on camera would stroll by his stand.

Crooked Horn showed up at 7:20 a.m. the second morning of the bow season, about ten minutes after legal shooting light started. Parsons waited for the right angle, finally taking the shot at 7:31. The heavy carbon shaft tipped with a Rage broadhead and fired from his 64-pound BowTech covered the 17 yards in a blink. The buck was shot through one lung and the liver. The fine 10-pointer had a green gross score of 144 and netted 140 6/8. (Parsons is an official scorer for P&Y, so he knows the numbers.) The buck's age was estimated at 5 ½ years old, and he field-dressed at 138 pounds.

Before you start whispering "rich guy" under your breath, bear in mind Parsons works five days a week like the rest of us working-class hunters. He hunts weekends and holidays like the rest of us. The difference is he puts in lots of time year-round and he's become very familiar with the property he hunts. He's successful because he watches the wind, shoots well and hunts smart. He's the real deal. I'm proud to call him my friend.

After the 60-day wait, Crooked Horn will be Parsons' 38th P&Y whitetail. All of those bucks were taken self-guided off the same low-fence cattle ranch he's hunted since back when he still had hair! There are still three months left in the Texas deer season,and I'm betting you'll see a report from me on at least one more and maybe two of Parsons Texas bow bucks before the season is over. He makes it look easy, but trust me, it's not!