Red River County teen’s patience leads to potential state-record buck

Reili Brewer shot the buck following a weekend of cold rain on federally managed land in Bowie County.
Published: Oct. 31, 2023 at 6:02 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 31, 2023 at 6:42 PM CDT
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BOWIE COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - A 14-year-old girl from Avery may be a new state recordholder following her harvest of a 31-point buck.

Reili Brewer shot the buck following a weekend of cold rain on federally managed land in Bowie County.

Reili was hunting with her father, Rickey Brewer. But Brewer was getting warm in his pickup when he heard the shot ring out Sunday evening.

“She had forgotten her rain gear so she was wearing mine,” Brewer said. “I was just there wearing non-resistant clothes. We had gotten out there around 2 o’clock Sunday. By about 6:15, I was shivering and decided I’d go get the truck. Before I got to the truck, she texted me and told me she wanted to stay until 6:40. So I got changed into some warm clothes to get ready to go get her. I had just opened a coke when I heard the gun shot.”

The Brewers were watching for a buck with a massive rack that the father had been trying to hunt for three years.

“I had him on camera coming out of his bed one time after it had rained,” Brewer said. “So we were at a spot we hoped he’d come out.”

The Brewers hunt on Red River Army Depot, which is part of an Army base. Brewer works as a government civilian and is allowed access to the land, along with other contractors, state and local police, teachers, veterans and active military. He said the hunting land is between 12,000 to 13,000 acres of heavy timber and is managed to encourage growth among the whitetail population. But the deer are free range and not held in by high fences.

Brewer said he came close to harvesting this buck a year ago.

“I was bowhunting and he came through but he didn’t stop for me to get a good shot,” he said.

The Brewers were hunting youth weekend. Rickey said his daughter is a diehard hunter.

“She’s been hunting whitetail the past three years,” he said. “The first year she got a 13-point and last year an 11-point. I’ve seen her let several keep walking so they can get bigger.”

After hearing the gunshot, Brewer said he began running back to the tree stand, which was about 300 yards away.

“I looked at my phone and saw I had three missed calls,” he said. “I called her back and she was just screaming and crying, ‘I shot the big one.’”

Brewer said he made it back to his daughter and she pointed out where she shot the buck. He found the deer down about 15 yards from where he was shot, which was from about 35 yards.

Reili said she was on her phone and looked up and saw the deer they referred to as “Ol’ Monroe.”

“My scope was really foggy and I had to wipe it off without spooking him,” she said. “My nerves were shot but my dad’s words were with me. I just took a big breath and slowly squeezed the trigger.”

“We focus on hunting 24/7,” Brewer said. “Once October comes, we hunt hard.”

In addition to the Bowie County land, the Brewers hunt at a lease in Arkansas and back home in Red River County.

“I’ve been in the woods since I was little,” Reili said. “I’ve loved it ever since.”

Though Brewer has been chasing the buck for three years, he said he’s glad it was his daughter who made the harvest.

“I’m super proud of her,” he said. “We sat there in the rain and stuck it out but she stuck it out longer than I did. Just hearing her hollering and screaming, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

“I owe everything to him,” Reili said about her father. “He sets me up on everything. He’s been with me my whole life. It’s incredible.”

And the forgotten raingear may have led to the big harvest. Because if Brewer wasn’t too cold, he would not have left the stand.

“I’d spent about 150 hours on that deer last October,” Brewer said. “I really believe this deer thought I had left and he got up and wasn’t expecting anyone to be there. He would always come through about 20 minutes after I left the stand last year.”

“I knew it was primetime,” Reili said. “I was ready to go at around 5 but thought I might as well wait it out. I was praying and hoping my prayers would be answered. Deer always like some cold weather and it’s harder for them to smell you. It was just the perfect weather.”

Brewer said a taxidermist in Terrell scored the buck as a 238 1/8, which would easily beat the state youth record of 209. But the record will not be official until 60 days and then it will be officially scored. But interviews have been lined up with national hunting publications.

“It’s been such an honor to have everyone reaching out,” she said.

As for Reili, she’s already looking for new challenges.

“I’m hoping for a compound bow for Christmas so I can start hunting with it,” she said.