It may be a numbers thing with Josh Harrison. The deer mounted on his office wall was an 11-point buck, and it was taken last fall on the 11th day of the 11th month.
There are some other numbers involved with Harrison. That big buck, close to 200 pounds in live weight, went down with just one shot. Later, Harrison became a target instead of a hunter. Melanoma was discovered in his back, and he’s now undergoing a series of intensive chemotherapy treatments.
The chemo is a new type, and so far, Harrison said, he has not experienced the sickness and the loss of hair that is often linked to such treatments.
"I get a little weak sometimes, but that’s from the surgery on my back. That’s why I use a cane, in case I get tired and need to rest a little," he said.
Harrison is 32 and a Conway resident since he was a few months old. He works in the family radio broadcasting business with parents Mike and Elaine Harrison. The business includes station KASR and the Creative Sports Network.
Josh Harrison has hunted deer since he was a boy, much of it on the land of the club where his dad is a member. It is about 400 acres between Guy and Quitman in northern Faulkner County.
As for the big buck now mounted on his office wall:
"It was Sunday, the second day of gun deer season," he recalled. "We came in for lunch, and the weather was getting bad — cold and looking like rain. Instead of going to a tree stand, I took my camp stool and walked about 200 yards to a pine thicket. I sat there and waited and looking for it to really rain at any time.
"A doe came out, looked at me and charged at me. I threw up my rifle and said "whoa.’ She stopped and turned and ran off. I got the rifle down and started cleaning off the scope that was beginning to fog up.
"Then this buck came out following the doe. I got the scope on him for a good look, and all I could see was horns coming up above the brush. They look big, but I didn’t try to count them. I fired, and the deer twisted around and ran."
The range was about 50 yards, he said. He was using a Remington .270 bolt action rifle with 130-grain Remington bullets.
He called another camp member, and they found the buck about 30 yards away.
"I saw the white of his belly. There wasn’t any blood," he said.
After field dressing the deer, Josh Harrison found his bullet had gone in at the base of the neck, through the heart and stopped just short of exiting behind the shoulder. No exit, no blood.
"I’ve killed other deer, but this one is my biggest," he said.
Josh Harrison played offensive guard for the Conway Wampus Cats in his high school days. He began assisting his father in broadcasting sports events, then went on his own in working football, basketball and other contests.
He’s the broadcaster for Greenbrier High football and enjoyed broadcasting the school’s best ever season last year.
"I’m looking forward to the games coming up. Greenbrier ought to have a pretty good team again," he said.
Gun deer season will arrive near the end of the regular high school football schedule, and Harrison will be back in the woods.
"They tell me I killed the little one, that there is a 12- or 13-point buck out there that is better than this one," he said.
Joe Mosby is the retired news editor of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Arkansas’ best known outdoor writer. His work is distributed by the Arkansas News Bureau in Little Rock.