"Lord, please don't let me have a wreck."
Those were my thoughts last Friday morning as my pick-up rolled east on FM 225 towards the Nacogdoches County Exposition Center.
Never mind the hot coffee sloshing around in the cup between my legs. I was more concerned about my tall-tined co-pilot and the two monsters riding in the back seat. One of them was "Ol' Ugly," a 195 1/8-inch freak-of-a-whitetail Mike Thomas shot in Trinity County nearly 20 years ago. The other was a nasty looking non-typical Jimmy Phillips blasted in Cherokee County last season.
The buck in the passenger seat belongs to Freddy Wallace of Alto but was killed by Estaban Gonzalez in 2002. It only has eight points, but the daggers are much longer than a butcher knife and its main beams look like a set of goal posts.
With a gross B&C score of 168, the Cherokee County giant ranks as the highest scoring eight pointer ever reported from open range in eastern Texas.
Together the three heads carry more than 540 inches of mangled, twisted bone. Simply put, I was up to my neck in whitetail deer antlers with points sticking out in every possible direction. One wrong move on my part - or somebody else's - and I was sure to get poked. I can see the headlines now: "Williams impaled: Trophy buck trio turns outdoor writer into antlered shish kebob."
AJ Downs had other worries that day as he pointed his pick-up northbound on Highway 59 out of Conroe. He had a 16-foot flatbed in tow with a huge wooden crate strapped to the deck.
Inside the crate was the life-size body mount of largest free ranging whitetail ever taken by a bowhunter in the state of Texas. With 28 scoreable points, the outstanding buck grosses more than 268 Boone and Crockett inches; 256 4/8 after deducts.