Years ago, a coffee maker came up with a commercial that touted its morning brew with the slogan “Good to the last drop!”
While my family typically prefers Folgers due to its Sherman connection (my late mother-in-law Loretta used to work for Folgers back in the day), the sentiment is a good one.
And that’s true for a number of things in life — the good to the last drop idea — even when it comes to deer hunting right here in Grayson County as the final weekend of the 2017-18 season looms.
For anyone with a tag left unused in their back pocket, the idea of going out and sitting in a deer stand one final time brings a weary sigh after weeks of getting up early and going to bed late thanks to climbing into a deer stand.
And to be truthful, the odds are slim on this final weekend as the current deer hunting campaign in North Texas wraps up on Sunday, Jan. 7.
But slim odds or not, that doesn’t mean that hunters can’t put a new set of antlers up on the wall in the final hours of hunting.
Take Mike Benson, for instance, a local hunter who certainly understands why it’s important to not quit hunting until the final buzzer sounds.
Right at a decade ago on Jan. 4 — which just so happened to be the last Friday evening of that particular North Texas deer season — the Grayson County resident guarded a food rich area on his hunting ground, hoping for one final crack at a big whitetail.
After a very slow sit, the bowhunter found himself weary from a season of hunting hard, the holiday rush, and the demands of a busy medical practice.
But just as the good doctor was thinking of calling it quits a few minutes early, he noticed movement in front of his blind.
One well placed arrow later and Benson was tagging a non-typical Boone and Crockett Club qualifier, a net 201 1/8-inch bruiser of a buck.
Not bad for an early January archery hunt — weeks after the rut.
Like a football team scoring late in the fourth quarter to achieve a big win, Benson’s hunt shows that the deer hunting game can also be won at the buzzer.
But mind you, his story isn’t the only local example of that.
Robert Taylor arrowed his own giant Grayson County whitetail in the final days of the 2012-13 season. That’s when the Aubrey resident arrowed one of the largest bucks ever tagged with any weapon in North Texas, a gnarly non-typical buck that scores north of 215-inches.
Like Doc Benson’s hunt a decade ago, the key to Taylor’s hunt — which came on the evening of Dec. 29 as cold weather and the remains of the region’s 2012 White Christmas dotted the landscape — was food.
That food was the combination of a corn feeder and a planted food plot that promised local deer a high caloric intake during a spell of frigid weather. That late season banquet table was enough to lure in several does, a good 10-point buck and eventually, the huge non-typical buck that Taylor ended up shooting.
(Editor’s Note: Reports indicate that Taylor elected to withdraw his buck from the Pope and Young Club’s record book after P&Y panel scoring reversed some scoring decisions and knocked the buck’s score down to 219 6/8 inches. The Texas Big Game Awards Program still recognizes the Taylor Buck as scoring 254 4/8 inches, good enough for third-place all-time in the TBGA non-typical listings).
Believe it or not, there’s at least one more buzzer beating example from right here in Grayson County, proof positive why you should go bowhunting in the local woods one final time this weekend.
That example comes by way of Dale Moses, the retired Grayson County game warden who beat the buzzer a few years ago as he chased a giant non-typical whitetail all the way to the final hours of the 2013-14 season.
The big buck — a bruiser that Moses had dubbed “Captain Hook” after seeing several November trail camera photos — played an exhausting cat-and-mouse game with the dedicated bowhunter on into the New Year.
As frigid temperatures gripped Texomaland, Moses finally caught up with the buck and arrowed it with his Mathews bow on Jan. 2, all but devoid of remaining vacation time thanks to the many, many hours that he had logged in pursuit of the big whitetail.
After the buck taped out at 184 0/8-inches net — one of the top Region 5 non-typical entries in that year’s TBGA program — it became a cover shot for the Journal of the Texas Trophy Hunters magazine, even as Moses wore a weary smile.
Because he — like the others hunters mentioned above — knew a whitetail hunting truth better than most.
That for those who have the necessary patience and a little bit of late season endurance, the season’s last gasp can bring surprisingly big antlered rewards.
Because sometimes, deer hunting in Grayson County can be big antlered good, all the way to the last drop.