Tann Hollingsworth could have been moving furniture into their newly remodeled home in Terry Friday, which is what his wife Shannon had asked him to do.
And, Hollingsworth could have been hunting in a different stand, which was his plan for the hastily planned afternoon hunt with his 9-year-old son Tanner at their deer camp in Hinds County.
But sloppy, rainy, miserable conditions changed all that, and did it ever work out for the best for the geological technician for a Jackson engineering firm. Hollingsworth wound up killing a 152 7/8-inch 9-point with a 21-inch inside spread and main beams measuring 25-inches and change.
“I had absolutely no plans to hunt on Friday, none at all,” said Hollingsworth. “My wife was working and I was supposed to be moving stuff into my Grandmother’s old house we just remodeled, but I didn’t think it was a good idea to be moving furniture and stuff in the rain.
“Plus, the bucks were rutting. I had told her that as soon as they quit rutting I’d be in the house.”
But, as can be the case, his arguments fell on deaf ears.
“Shannon said, ‘I don’t care about what the deer are doing, I want to get into the house,’” Hollingsworth said. “We ended up arguing a little bit about it that afternoon and I told my friend Charlie Callahan, who was with me, that we were going hunting.
“She wasn’t happy about it, but she really wasn’t that mad. She does understand how important it is to our son and me. She’s laughing about it now, telling everybody that ‘if I hadn’t made him mad, he’d have never killed that deer.’”
Because it was such an impromptu decision, there was little time to plan and little time left for hunting.
“Charlie and his son, and Tanner and I got in the truck at 3:30 and made the 30-minute drive to camp,” Hollingsworth said. “By the time we got through signing in and I walked Charlie and his boy to their stand, it was after 4 o’clock before I got back to the truck with Tanner. It was really messy and raining and when I got back to the truck I told Tanner we were changing plans and not going to the stand where we had planned to go.
“It was a pretty good walk to it, so I thought it was a good idea in those conditions to go to a closer stand, which was a few hundred yards closer down this logging road. Plus, I thought the closer stand, which we call the Honey Hole, would give us more time to hunt and it would be a good place for Tanner to get his first buck. We’d seen a lot of smaller bucks in the food plot there, and this being his first season to hunt, I figured he might be able to get his first buck.”
In the confusion of the day, Hollingsworth forgot to change clothes.
“Tanner started kidding me on the way to the stand about having blue jeans on; I had forgotten to put on my camo pants,” he said. “I did have on a camo shirt under my orange.”
With little more than an hour left to hunt, the two were walking to the stand, dad carrying a loaded rifle on his shoulder and son walking with an unloaded firearm.
“He’s 9 and this is his first year to hunt, so I won’t let him walk with a loaded gun,” Hollingsworth said. “He killed a doe already this season and I wanted to get him a buck.”
Approaching the final curve in the logging road, with the Honey Hole food plot and two-man Millenium Tree Stand in view about 80 yards away, the two hunters stopped when a doe suddenly appeared.
“It was so quiet, and we could see the food plot through the fog and haze in the distance when this doe walked out about 40 yards from us,” Hollingsworth said. “We stopped, and even though she didn’t see us, she darted on across the road. Then he came out, right behind her.
“He was 45 yards from us, angling across the road. I could tell he was a big-bodied deer, and Tanner immediately whispered, ‘Daddy, that’s a big buck.’ I swung the gun up to my shoulder and I think the buck caught the motion and he turned to look at me. When he did I saw the antlers and knew right then he was a shooter.”
Hollingsworth wasted little time. He found the buck in the crosshairs of the Swarovski 3x12 scope and pulled the trigger on his .30-06 Ruger rifle.
“The buck whirled back around and ran the way he had come,” Hollingsworth said. “I started to wonder, but then he took just three steps and flipped completely over, tail over head and went down. He was dead on the shot, but he just didn’t know it.”
The youngster was excited.
“He shouted, ‘Daddy, you got him! You killed a monster!’” Hollingsworth said. “It was wonderful to have him there with me, but if we had made it to the stand that afternoon and had we been in it when this buck came through, he would have been doing the shooting. This could have been his first buck.”
That didn’t happen, but how it played out was remarkable.
“The whole thing, walking from the truck to the stand, was over in a matter of minutes,” Hollingsworth said. “It took me longer to tell you about it than it actually took to do. And from the time we saw the doe to the time I shot the buck, we’re talking maybe 5 or 10 seconds, at the most. It was that quick.”
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