Dusty McGehee: The Dougie buck

The Dougie Buck

After over two months of hunting hard, Anders finally got a big buck on the ground. The buck will forever be called “The Dougie buck”.  I’m not much on naming deer, but this one deserved a name and is one of my favorite hunts of all time.

Why did we name it “The Dougie buck”?  Well, we need to go back in time around 2001.   I was finally able to land a girlfriend named Emily Steed.  Her father is Doug Steed, affectionately known as Dougie.  I was fortunate enough to go on vacations, holiday celebrations, and many other family functions with the Steed family.  Over the course of four years, Dougie was a main stay in my life.  He taught me so much about how to live, how to love, and how to do the right thing.  Fortunately for Emily, our relationship ended in college, but my relationship with Doug never stopped.

A few years later, Emily married one of my good friends Matt Pullin and they now have two sons, Henry and Sam.  Doug’s oldest daughter Shannon also has a son, Eli.  Doug was ALL about family.  Doug’s life revolved around his wife Lynda and their beloved daughters, Emily and Shannon.  Now he had grandsons Henry, Sam, and Eli in the mix and wanted more for his family.

About six years ago, Doug calls me inquiring about land in Mississippi.  Doug had a hunting lease in Texas, but it was over nine hours away, so he wanted a place within easy driving distance of Ruston so he and his grandkids could enjoy it.  I hooked him up with a land broker in Mississippi, and he found his perfect piece of paradise.  He and his best friend Mike Deville closed on a 400-acre tract in Holmes County.  This was the property that Dougie wanted to leave his legacy to his kids and grandsons.

I’ve had the pleasure of touring the property with Doug and Matt, and it is truly a beautiful piece of land.  It’s everything you could want in a recreational property.  The lodge is immaculate, with azaleas that would rival Augusta National, and a lake fully stocked with fish.  To say Doug was proud of this place would be an understatement.  Every spare moment of his time was spent on this tract, making sure everything was perfect so his family could enjoy it. 

For anyone that knew Doug, he had a phrase for big bucks.  He referred to them as moofer or moofy.  November 26, 2021 came around, and after all the Thanksgiving festivities Doug and Henry went out for a hunt.  As daylight faded, they had a yearling out in the food plot when Doug looks up and says, “Here comes moofy!”  Henry got on the buck but had a severe case of buck fever, as Doug said the stand was vibrating.  Henry takes a shot and whiffs.  The deer trots towards them to about 50 yards.  Doug chambers another round into the gun and Henry asks, “are you going to shoot him?”  Doug says, “No you get on him, just relax and take your time.”  Henry calmed down and took the shot and his aim was true.  Moofy was down.  A gigantic 6-point buck that was king of the Holmes County property was now in the hands of Dougie and Henry.

Sadly, three weeks later, Doug passed away suddenly at his hunting lodge.  The news hit me and so many others like a ton of bricks.  A man who meant the world to me was now gone.  I’ve struggled to come to grips, cried countless tears, and have lost a lot of sleep.  Other than praying and offering help to his family, I wasn’t sure what else I could do.

That night, while leaving the deer stand at my place in Mississippi, Anders noticed I was obviously torn up.  I told him the news, and he was heartbroken for his friends Henry and Sam.  He wanted to do something for Dougie, so we pulled a bullet out.  I sharpied “Dougie” on the cartridge and said your next deer will be for Dougie.

On Wednesday morning December 22, we go to our favorite stand with the Dougie bullet in the chamber.  I’d prayed to God and selfishly asked Doug to send a buck our way.  We had barely gotten settled when I looked to the right and saw a massive deer in the lane.  He crossed the lane before Anders could get on him, so I grunted a few times and he turned on a dime and came back out.  Anders sent the Dougie bullet at him, and he dropped in his tracks.

The buck was a big 6, just like the last buck Henry killed with Dougie.  Was it a coincidence?  I don’t think so.  We had a little help that morning from someone above.  After we loaded the buck up and were driving out, Anders says “I think Dougie would call this one a moofy”.  To which I responded, “No doubt.”

Dougie, I don’t think I have many more keystrokes or tears left in me.  Your legacy will live on forever.  Until we meet again, save a moofy for me up there.

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Dusty McGehee is a native of Downsville and a 2006 graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a bachelors in wildlife conservation. He is currently employed by WestRock and serves as an environmental engineer at the Hodge Mill. Dusty is an avid hunter and crappie fisherman, fishing crappie tournaments with his son when he is not in the woods. He and his wife Rachel have three young outdoorsmen/women: Anders (9), Ridge (7) and Mae (5). If you have a story idea or question about the great outdoors, you can reach Dusty at dusty.mcgehee@westrock.com.


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