Scary wasp encounter leads to first deer

Published 9:38 am Monday, December 7, 2015

A wasp sting and a borrowed rifle led to Austin Whatley harvesting his first deer.

The 7-year-old Vicksburg resident was hunting with his father, Scooter Whatley, at the family’s camp on Kings Point Island. It was two days before Thanksgiving, and they were in the deer stand of Harold Whatley, Scooter’s father and Austin’s grandfather.

Right around dawn, Austin woke up from a nap just in time to see a 135-pound doe approach the stand. At the same time, father and son noticed something far more ominous.

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“He said something bit me or stung me,” Scooter Whatley said. “I shined my flashlight up in the corner and there was a huge wasp nest up there. I’m talking 75 or 100 wasps.”

Scooter quickly gave his son a choice — flee the wasps and the deer stand and lose the doe, or quickly take the shot.

“I said we could get out or wait another 30 seconds. We waited it out and took the shot and he drilled it,” Scooter Whatley said. “Then we bailed out of the stand. I mean, we parachuted out, we got out so fast.”

Austin was using his older brother Connor’s brand new .243 rifle and had never fired it before, but made a perfect shot. The Whatleys tracked the deer and found it a short distance away.

After harvesting the doe — the biggest taken at the camp this season — and going through the informal ceremonies that accompany a first kill, they didn’t have a chance to return to the stand to deal with the wasps. That allowed for a sequel to the adventure the next day when Scooter and Connor went to the camp.

“The next day we took the wasp spray and got them, and swept them all out. They were all over the place,” Scooter said.

Once safe from the wasps, Connor got a deer himself. He bagged a 230-pound, eight-point buck that approached the stand not long after sunrise. It was the biggest buck taken at the camp this season.

“It was the same scenario,” Scooter Whatley said. “One shot. Boom. I watched the deer pile up.”

Hunting Stories Wanted

This is the first in an occasional series of hunting stories told by or submitted from Vicksburg Post readers. If you’d like to submit a story or hunting photo, please send an email to Include your name, the hunter’s name, details of the hunt such as time, date, size of the animal, weapon used and any interesting details. Also include a telephone number so we can contact you. If submitting a photo of children, please take the picture before they have been blooded. Any photos containing excess amounts of blood and gore will not be published.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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