Little Kaleb Lipscomb just had a week he will never forget, and certainly one that his dad, Chad, will cherish the rest of his life.
The 9-year-old third grader at Madison-Ridgeland Academy had two major accomplishments, which ended with him celebrating his first buck, taken Saturday in Holmes County during the youth gun season.
And, the nearly 140-inch buck wasn’t first on his mind.
“After we found the deer, I’ll never forget this, he turned to me and said ‘I got Jesus in my heart and I got my first buck; it’s been the best week,’” said Chad Lipscomb, a teacher and assistant baseball and softball coach at MRA. “On Tuesday night, Nov. 12, he had accepted Christ. Then on Saturday, he got that big buck, a mainframe 10 with one broken tine.
“Yep, it was a really big week for him. For both of us.”
It did not take divine intervention to get the buck. It took a decision from the landowners, who made a rare exception to their rules that afternoon to allow Kaleb the opportunity.
“We were doe hunting, trying to fill our requirement,” said Chad Lipscomb. “This place is really amazing, and it isn’t by accident. They want you to kill three does every year before you can take a buck. That’s what I spent all day Saturday trying to do.”
The father failed that morning while hunting with his stepson, Jack Clunan, 12.
“Jack and I went to this stand that morning and didn’t see anything but two small does that we didn’t get a shot at, and a spike,” Lipscomb said. “Kaleb had stayed in town and had spent the night with a friend. I went back and got him and we went back hunting that afternoon. Jack wanted to go to another stand so Kaleb and I went back to the same field that Jack and I had hunted that morning.”
The doe hunting was just as bad that afternoon.
“Unbelievable,” the dad said. “We were in that stand all afternoon and all we saw were bucks — lots of bucks. There were 11 bucks in that field most of the time. It’s a three-acre field with three shooting lanes cut through trees around it. The bucks were in the field.”
Stringent doe requirements have that kind of effect on buck/doe ratios.
“It was kind of frustrating for Kaleb, because there were all these bucks and he couldn’t shoot one,” Chad Lipscomb said. “He has killed several does but never a buck. We had two small 8-points sparring in the field. And this big buck comes out. He made a couple of runs at the sparring bucks.
“The big buck stayed within 50 to 150 yards, and at one point he was 50 yards away, broadside. Kaleb turned to me and whispered, ‘this is the best and worst hunt ever.’”
With darkness approaching, Chad Lipscomb started sending text messages.
“We were hunting at a private camp, a place that the family of one of my former baseball players (from MRA) have,” he said. “I started texting him that we had a 140- to 150-inch buck in the field and no does. He text me back: ‘Shoot that buck. Let Kaleb have at it!’
“The buck was just about out of the field at that point. He had about 10 yards between him and the edge of the woods, and if he made it to the trees he’d disappear. I told Kaleb to get ready and if the buck gave him a broadside shot to pull the trigger.”
The father knew the opportunity was coming.
“The buck was walking toward the same path that he had used to come into the field, and he was going at an angle that he would have to turn slightly to enter the path,” Chad Lipscomb said. “When he was about five steps from the trees, he turned and gave Kaleb a perfect 150-yard shot. I told him ‘if you’re on him, squeeze the trigger.’”
Little Kaleb responded with the roar of his dad’s 280, sending the 150-grain bullet on a perfect path to the buck’s vital region. The big deer jumped and made it to the woods. The kid knew his shot was true, his dad said, and he started saying “I got him. I got him.”
“I was watching through the binoculars and I could tell he had hit the buck,” Chad Lipscomb said. “We waited a bit and then we had to run all the rest of the bucks out of the field before we went and looked. The big buck had made it about five yards into the woods and went down. As soon as I hit that trail, I looked in and saw him.”
The buck was massive, weighing over 250 pounds. Its 10-point mainframe would be scored a 9, since one tine was broken off. Both bases measured over 5½ inches and it had an inside spread slightly over 17 inches.
“It was the biggest buck that has been taken off their land,” Chad Lipscomb said. “Back at the camp, my former player’s dad came over and told me, ‘you guys owe me a few does.’ He was smiling and I told him ‘we sure do.’”
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