Hunting Tips, Questions, Stories & Discussion
Focusing on managing Texas wildlife habitat and natural resources for native and exotic wild game species, for this and future generation of hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Buck of My Life
From opening day until Nov. 28, 2004, I let several young bucks
and small hogs
walk into and out of my sights. I had my single buck
tag ready, hoping that one of the big ones would make that fatal mistake. On Nov. 28, in Goliad County, Texas, a wide-racked buck
did just that. I have been on this deer
lease for four seasons now, and I have seen my share of bucks and hogs. I'm not much of an antler hunter, but I've never seen such a beautiful buck. So I could not pass up this opportunity.
On Saturday, Nov. 27, Tino Ramirez's guest, Robert Ramirez from San Antonio, and I had seen this massive buck
and smaller bucks in the middle pasture. Robert and I walked down to the fence line, trying to get a better view. The bucks' antlers were wide and dark brown with a small kicker on the left side. We watched that buck for 1 1/2 hours. We could even hear it snort. I said to Robert, Man, that would be the buck
of a lifetime to shoot. As the evening came to an end, so did the hunt. While leaving the pasture, we saw the buck
run off and jump over the fence.
The next morning, as sunlight reflected off the shadows of the game feeder, I saw three does. Suddenly they all ran off, and out from my left came a big, wide buck. He was walking slowly toward the feeder. I got out my binoculars. I could not believe my eyes! It was the same buck
I had seen in the pasture Saturday. I tried to stay calm and take several deep breaths, but I couldn't. I could hear my heart pound in my chest and thought it was going to come out. After viewing this monster, there was no doubt I was going to take him. He was walking slowly toward the feeder. I let him get through the barbed wire fence and used my range-finder to get an accurate yardage to the feeder. He was 60 yards away. I lined up my crosshairs and aimed for the shoulder. BOOM! After the shot, I looked out of the deer
blind window and said to myself, I know you didn't miss. I secured my rifle and climbed down the blind. I approached the feeder slowly with adrenaline pumping like crazy.
When I saw the massive rack, I howled, YES! YES! Back at camp, my dad, Gene Garcia, and father-in-law, Duane Mac Payne, had heard the shot. They were waiting for me. We headed back to where my monster buck
lay. It was so heavy that it took all three of us to load it on the basket. Since I was going to have a shoulder mount made, I was very careful while skinning. I called my hunting buddy, James Doodle Jarnigan, and told him about my buck
. He was in Michigan at the time and said he was very happy for me and proud of me. The way I see it, it's just being there at the right time and the right place. It was an awesome and memorable day in my life and I got to share it with my dad and father-in-law. I will never forget it. My daughter, Emily, told me that she wants to go hunting with me. I've taken her before and she really enjoyed seeing the deer
, and birds
coming to the feeder. I plan on taking Emily this season.
Hopefully she will be able to harvest a nice buck
and get it mounted. I want her to remember the times we spent together and how to appreciate the outdoors. I took my buck
to be processed at A&A Processing, and had my buck
mounted by Tom Eyler, at South Texas Taxidermy. They do a super job with the processing and mounting. My 13-point buck scored 159 5/8 Boone and Crockett, and had an amazing 21 1/2-inch spread. David Garcia Corpus Christi, Texas
Labels: texas whitetail deer, trophy whitetail buck, whitetail deer hunt, whitetail doe
Friday, January 20, 2012
A Great West Texas Hunt
It was Thanksgiving weekend in 2001 I had been invited to hunt West Texas on a privately owned ranch. I had never hunted and was a little apprehensive about what to expect. We arrived Wednesday afternoon we had a surprised greeting by the ranch owner who informed us he had just purchased land next to the ranch making his ranch over two thousand acres. He invited us to take a ride after we got settled in to look at his new property to see if we wanted to hunt on it or on his older property. He said the new land had not been hunted on for a few years because of illness to the past owner and there may be some big surprises on it.
We were then taken to the bunkhouse that would be our home for a few days, after we unloaded our things I was taken out back given a safety talk about safe hunting and handed a 308 rifle, after a safety lesson on safe usage and care I was told to shoot at the target which was a paper plate with a x marked on it. I received step by step guidance as I amid and took three shots, two on the right of center and one to the left all within a 1 1/2in circle. I must say I was disappointed on missing the center a little pride thing with several experienced hunters watching; however, I was declared ready to hunt and we were told to meet at the truck and bring our rifles because you never know what you might see. I was told to set up front so could receive more safety information they wanted to help me to make sure I had a good time, learned the safe way to hunt and take home some meat.
We drove around the older property seeing beautiful White Tails
and Axis bucks
, we also saw a lot of Fallow
and Whitetail does
. We then started to look at the newly acquired land; we had driven around about fifteen minutes as we started making a right turn we all froze. Just off to the right about seventy five yards in a clearing were five large bucks
circling with a doe
in the middle. At first they did not see us; the doe
was trying to find an opening to run however every time she moved the bucks countered by making the circle smaller. They were acting like a pack of wolfs slowly circling the pray. The doe
notice us first turning her head; two buck
directly in front of her turned their heads to see what she was looking at. That was all the opening she needed. She darted between them before they could react. Four of the bucks
flinched looking at her then back to us, the fifth one never moved.
Finally one of the bucks
turned to chase the doe with the other three following. The fifth buck a big 8 point was still standing frozen. I was told to slowly rack in a bullet and to slowly get ready to take a shot. Everyone was frozen watching with anticipation on my first attempt to shoot a deer
. I was talked through each movement and finally took the shot. The buck
lurched forward and took about twenty steps then dropped. My heart was pounding as we approached the deer
, everyone had remain quite until we stood there looking down at this magnificent animal. Finally the silence was broken when someone said you're hooked now and I think you lying about not ever hunted, that was a good shot. We all laughed but could not believe what we had just witnessed and to have that buck just stand there as if he was saying here I am waiting on you take your shot. They were right I was hooked by the time the weekend was over.
We had a great weekend with each of us killing several deer
. I killed a fallow
and white tail doe
and missed a shot at a turkey
. I took a lot of kidding that weekend about not being truthful about not ever hunting. Although it is hard to beat your first hunting experience I always looking forward to my next hunt and what surprise it may bring.
Labels: texas whitetail deer, whitetail buck hunts, whitetail deer hunts, whitetail doe hunting
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
It was cold that morning. I want to say the red line of the rusty outdoor thermometer was nestled in close to twenty-two degrees, but it was too frosted over to tell for sure. The specifics didn't matter. My companion told me all I needed to know, her head cocked, quizzically staring into the thickly frozen surface of her water bowl. Friends like these, huh girl? I muttered as I scratched her head and turned to walk back into the cabin, thinking murderous thoughts about a certain Houston weatherman and his consistent inconsistency.
This cold front had arrived a day early. The dog padded behind me into the cabin
, equally disgusted with the whole thing. We stood side-by-side under the dim light of a naked bulb and stared at the meager contents of my bag. White cotton socks. Thin pants. I suddenly understood what Robert Shaw meant in Jaws when he growled, We're gonna need a bigger boat. With no boats, figurative or otherwise, at my immediate disposal, I settled for layering and put into action a time honored move called, Put On Everything You Got. Snugged, cinched, and buckled, I poured the last of the coffee into a styrofoam cup and gingerly stepped out into the blackness. Twenty steps after the cabin door clicked shut behind me and I was already losing my nerve. The wind was up, whipping out of the northeast with the fresh urgency of a new front. I fumbled with gloved hands for the Jeep key as the last of the cabin's warmth was blasted out of me. At that moment, on any other day, I'd have tucked tail and been back in the sleeping bag faster than you can say hypothermia.
Nature's a tough mama, and going toe to toe with her over 22 degrees and a stiff north wind usually puts you on some end of the losing stick. That dark, icy morning and I were engaged in a hand-to-hand battle of wills, but it was only the undercard in a much larger fight. Today was different. Today was the day I would confront HIM. I'd spent most of the season staring at little more than signs of his ghostly passing. The blind was on the north end of the East Texas lease, perched on the edge of a small pipeline overlooking a creek bottom. It was a quiet side of the property, densely wooded with very little traffic. The perfect hideout for any buck
wise enough to know so. The scrapes were already there in October, dotting the eastern tree line. It didn't take much scouting to spot the two rubs on another trail, both trees over six inches in diameter. His rutting sign was everywhere and was revisited and freshened with such manic frequency that you could sense his hysteria.
The monster is here, lurking somewhere in this area. And he's lovesick. We've played our chess match all season, the waiting game that ensues between hunter and hunted. In my favor is his desire to breed
, a primal force constantly gnawing at him to ignore the safety of his thicket and venture out into the open. In his favor is patience, experience, and the light of a full moon. As the season progresses, the stakes raise. Time is a factor and it's all on his side. I've logged hours upon hours in this blind, with little more to show for it than chapped lips and stiff legs. He's elusive, this one, but he's still here. Tracks appear in the sandy road over night, and does in the area are still skittish, very much in heat. Come hell, high water, 22 degrees or a stiff breeze, we're having this out today. I find the Jeep key, jam it into the ignition with renewed purpose and head north. I ease into the area with plenty of darkness left and am positioned before daybreak. The wind eases slightly but persists nonetheless, carrying my scent away from the creek bottom. Advantage hunter.
I reach down to my right and check the gun. Everything is primed as first light washes over the pipeline. It starts with something as small as a nagging feeling in the back of your mind. Something is not as it should be. The tree lines are empty, branches slowly swaying in the morning wind. The pipeline is empty. I chalk it up to early morning jitters, or maybe too much coffee. But it won't go away. Something is here. I cut my eyes from left tree line to right, desperate for an indicator, rifle now in my lap. And just like that, in one single hair-raising instant, he's standing on the edge of the pipeline. Time slows down, and I struggle to confine the franticness of my movements within a hunter's calm. That old familiar feeling of blood hammering through veins hits me like a freight train. Months of planning, scouting and sitting do little to ease magnitude of the moment, and I struggle to contain my breathing as I find the monster in the scope. I whisper my father's advice like a mantra in my head, squeeze the trigger, squeeze the trigger, squeeze the trigger. Everything culminates in the roar of the .7mm-08, and just as quickly as the moment is upon me, it's over. He scored 144 B.C., and to this day remains the deer
I am most proud of. I never listened to that weather man again.
Labels: texas whitetail deer, trophy whitetail buck, whitetail buck hunts, whitetail deer management bucks
Friday, January 13, 2012
A Deer Hunting Trip Remembered
I imagine the hunting trips of my youth compare to numerous others hunting trips. By the time I was old enough to hunt, my father and grandfather did not have deer
hunting property nor were they on a yearly deer lease. So, I would often go hunting with my father when he was invited by business acquaintances and his friends; or, the three of us would go and my grandfather would pay for day hunts or a day lease. The later of our options (day/day lease hunting) would result in several possible outcomes: a fun trip (successful or not), an interesting trip or a disastrous adventure. Of all the hunting adventures I remember from my youth, two disastrous adventures stand out and one of those is deer
Whether or not my grandfather heard of this place from a friend or found the advertisement in the newspaper, I do not know. But, considering the final outcome, I would imagine no friend would refer us there. Sure, he called about it before he paid the initial payment. He was a money conscious man; he wouldn't have just paid that amount of money without at least speaking to the owners/leasers about it first. Unfortunately, a phone call to a place in deep Southwest Texas will only net you what the leaser wants to disclose; and, it's pretty hard to verify that without seeing it firsthand. So, in the days before Google Earth, Yahoo topography maps and Yelp or other online review sites, my grandfather had nothing to go on besides what he heard on the phone. And, apparently, that was enough to convince him. Since we do not have that initial advertisement, I imagine it was something like this: ATTENTION Hunters: 100,000 Acres. Managed Property. Limited hunting for past 10 years. LOTS of deer. Luxury Accommodations. Gourmet Food. For Information Call: ***-***-****.
This adventure started like countless others we had with the exception that one of my cousins was going hunting with us. We left the day before a holiday; my parents were not of the opinion to check me out of classes for days at a time for frivolous trips. [You should know my dad always went prepared for a trip. We took almost anything you could imagine.] This trip, as there were four of us, we hauled all of our gear in a basic covered trailer behind my grandfather's mid 90's model Suburban. We started for Kerrville on old I-10 and made our way towards one of my favorite places to eat, and ultimately towards our reminiscently disastrous and funny adventure. Almost every deer hunting trip, my father/grandfather would stop at one of two restaurants; they became some of my favorite places to eat because I began to associate them with our time together, in addition to the restaurant's good food and atmosphere.
Those two restaurants were The Little Red Barn in San Antonio and Anna Marie's Alpine Lodge and Hotel in Kerrville. Since I have family in San Antonio, I still eat at The Little Red Barn, though not often. Unfortunately, I had forgotten the name of the one in Kerrville; so, I called the Kerrville Visitor's Center to see if they could help and they provided me with the name used in this story. When we stopped in Kerrville, we found an ominous sight. The restaurant, one of my favorites, was inaccessible. We discovered that someone had set the Lodge and Hotel portion on fire (bystander's remarks) interesting and the restaurant was blocked by what appeared to be all the fire trucks and police cars in Kerrville. Since we couldn't get our truck and trailer in the parking lot, we ate elsewhere. I forgot where we ate instead; apparently it was not memorable. After eating, we proceeded on our way. I remember it seemed like we were driving through the same scene for hours; it was just one constant stream of flat ground and limited hills of desert-like landscape.
One of my favorite games from these trips was deer
spotting; and, it's still one of my favorite things to do when on a trip through Texas, or anywhere. I'd simply see how many deer
I could count, especially when we were near the place where we were going to hunt. This time, I thought I saw deer everywhere. Looking back, it was probably just the landscape playing tricks on my eyes, or all the deer
that were scared away from our destination (but, I am getting ahead of myself). After what seemed like an eternity (I was young), we arrived at dusk. We drove through the long entry way to a ranch-style house where a ton of vehicles were parked. We went in and my grandfather paid. First major clue (if you don't count the vehicles): we were invited to the remainder of the gourmet evening meal: spaghetti pasta stained with red sauce lumped together in a basic sauce pan on top of a stove with a spiral burner in a very mundane and small kitchen, which was nowhere near gourmet. Needless to say, we declined.
After that, we were shown to the stellar accommodations. Second major clue: bunk beds stacked 3 high in a 10am ceiling room. Once we got our things stowed for the evening, we talked a little and then got into bed. My cousin was on the bottom bunk, I was in the middle bunk and my dad decided to have the top bunk because it was the hardest to get in (and because I think he worried that I would roll out). To say there was limited space doesn't even come close to the truth. There was little space on the bottom two beds, but the person on top got to sleep with the ceiling less than 2ft from his face. And, at the time, my dad was a pretty large man and him getting on the top bunk to begin with was treacherous. He thought, though he didn't tell me at the time, that he was going to fall through the bunk springs, crush me and have to explain my injuries to my mom. With the three of us squeezed together in one place, my grandfather slept in a different bunking system close by.
In the morning, we discovered my grandfather was missing. We looked for him everywhere. My dad was in borderline panic mode at this point: after a night of fitful sleeping, worrying that he might break the bed and crush his son, he woke up to realize his father-in-law has gone missing in the middle of nowhere. Then, my dad decided to check the truck and found him. My grandfather had taken to the truck because the snoring was so loud and decided to spend the evening sleeping in a vehicle without the heater running and the outside ambient temperature falling to about freezing. Third major clue: After locating my grandfather, getting suited up for the morning hunt and getting our gear organized, we met at least 2 dozen people outside the ranch house.
We were instructed to divide up between 2 pickup trucks and squeeze at least a dozen of us in the bed of each truck. Our truck drove us through the property (following the first) and eventually split up at a fork. Our truck drove maybe 100 yards from the fork and stopped. They let a person out and drove about another 100 yards, stopped to let another get out, and drove on. This went on until it was our turn. When it was our turn, we got out and received limited directions to the stand. And, before we made it 5 yards off the road, the truck commenced its routine and left us in the dark. Thankfully we made it to the blind without a mishap. That morning, we neither saw any deer
nor did we hear anyone in the endless countryside fire a weapon. So, we chit-chatted and we both read a book.
Regardless of our trip's outcome, our purpose in going was to get away, spend time together and enjoy God's Country; if we were lucky and skilled enough to kill an animal, it was a plus, but it wasn't a need. Sure, my dad and I always hoped of shooting a mature, hug-racked buck
, but our trips were worth more than that. I admit, initially I just wanted to go hunting with my dad; but, as I aged, so did my perspective. There's just something indescribable about being away from a city and being in the woods, or desert in this case. It's relaxing, but you really do appreciate how wonderfully amazing God made our planet. And, in my case and my father's, we haven't been on a hunting trip together since I was completing my undergraduate degree in 2000. For me, I haven't been deer hunting
since 2002, almost 10 years ago. I miss my time in the woods, the alone time and bonding time; I miss the time I was able to spend with my dad most of all. Even with all the other types of hunting, my dad and I never seem to have the same off days. Getting back on track and back to our adventure, we continued to hunt that evening and the next morning without either set of hunters (me and my dad, my cousin and grandfather) seeing anything.
I don't think I saw a single deer
killed in the entire camp the first day and a half we were there. The second evening, my dad and I finally heard a shot ring out over the flatness. And, as we were going through the evening pickups, we discovered my cousin had shot a deer
, but he had gut-shot the deer. I love my cousin, but in the two trips he took with us, he gut-shot two deer
(one on each trip). In this case, we searched for a half an hour and couldn't find any sign of a trail. So, we were left to our only option, return to the cabin empty handed. The next morning marked our last morning and last hunt. Like the last couple days, with the exception of the prior night, no one saw a single deer. My cousin and grandfather were in the same location as the previous night, so they eventually gave up on sitting and started looking for the deer again; we found them at it when we came to pick them up.
When we got back to the luxury accommodations
, we packed up and were about to leave when we saw 4 guys on an elevated platform return from hunting. Even with their platform and their guide, none of them saw a deer. (As for my cousin's deer
, they found it a couple days later. It was about the size of a Great Dane before it was dressed.) Leaving, we took the same route home as we took to this luxurious ranch. We stopped in Kerrville again to try that restaurant to find that someone had set fire to the Lodge again. We decided to eat somewhere else, and it was as memorable as the previous place. When we finally made it home, initially our morale was low. But, with the passing of time and the more we tell this story adventure that has transformed from a disaster to something that will forever be remembered in the annals of our family's hunting history, especially among those hunting trips shared by my grandfather, my father and me.
Labels: Texas Whitetail Deer Hunting, trophy whitetail buck, Whitetail Deer Bow Hunting, whitetail doe
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Life's Lessons in the Deer Blind
I don't think that I had ever felt that cold in my entire life, at least in those first nine years. I don't believe I had ever been outside on so cold a day so early in the morning as I was on December 31, 1988. Being nine years old, I didn't really have much basis for comparison, but I will never forget how absolutely cold I felt that morning. I honestly think what made the experience so much worse for me was that I was really down on myself because I had already missed one deer the previous morning. Disappointment and cold make a fine recipe for discomfort, at least in the 9 year old mind. I'd never really been deer hunting before either. I'd never had to sit stone silent in a blind, never had to travel in a car for 7 hours anywhere, and never experienced the elements as I had that weekend.
As I look back on it, however, I feel like I learned a lot of valuable lessons on that trip to the Escondido Ranch
. The first lesson was one that has stuck with me for the longest time: disappointment. The single most humbling thing my nine year old mind had experienced prior to that weekend was striking out four times in a row in a little league game. While the pre-adolescent male ego can certainly be shattered by such a traumatic series of plate appearances, little does more to deflate that same ego than going on a deer hunt
, firing your rifle in the bitter cold, and having nothing to show for it save a bruise to the left shoulder and a boot full of cactus spines.
The latter came from my own personal attempt at refining the art of sulking while pretending to track the non-existent blood trail I swore was there. For me, defeat was not an option. There was a deer
on the ground somewhere and I intended to find it. Second, I learned the value of spending time with your family. My father and I were spending that weekend hunting together and Dad assured me that we were going to be successful. I, however, had succeeded so far in shooting a tree stump (I think), stepping in a prickly pear cactus, and nearly falling into the river in sub-freezing temperatures. I was great company to be around. I finally realized how foolishly I was acting when someone asked me how many deer
I thought that they had shot at and missed in their lifetime. I was about to reply with something rather smart-alecky when I realized it was my dad asking the question.
I also realized that I was spending a very special trip focusing on things that I couldn't control when I should really have been making the most of an opportunity to be with my father. Looking back, I realize now just how special that trip would be. The final lesson I learned on that trip was the value of perseverance. After missing the first deer
, I decided I couldn't shoot straight, I didn't know how to use a scope, and that I would most likely never actually kill a deer.
There was a part of me that was ready to pack my stuff up, ask to go home, and I was close to deciding that I'd never go hunting again. It's very easy to view yourself as a failure, especially when you haven't been a success to date. I just needed a little inspiration, and that came from my dad. He told me how his first deer hunt
was not the resounded success I had imagined it to be. He shared that he too had missed his share of deer, and that the real test is how everyone deals with their setbacks.
It was then that I realized failure wasn't missing the deer
; failure was not going out and trying to get the next one. I did end up shooting my first deer on that cold morning of December 31, and it's a memory I will cherish forever. I am grateful to my father for taking me on that first hunt, and it's one of those things I can't wait to share with my own children someday. That hunt was a unique time for my father and me to share, and that first deer
is a memory that will last a lifetime.
Labels: trophy whitetail buck, whitetail deer hunt, whitetail doe
First year of using a bow to deer hunt
This is not my first year to deer hunt
with a bow but it has been my first to be succesful with a bow. A few years back I was on a lease in montgomery county were I first tried to bow hunt, didnt realy know what I was doing but tried it out set up in a chair in some bushes near a trail were deer had been coming through. There was a trail in front of me that also came accroos the trail that i had set up on and as you would know it this is were the deer
came from, so all i could do was sit there as the first deer
came it was a doe she snorted and stommped and would run back then walk back up to me and do it all over again. This went on for a least 10 to 15 minutes and all i could do was watch for she was right in front of me looking directly at me.
Finally she left and all I could do was think why did I set up were I did and catch my breath from trying to sit so still and not move all the while,while she did her dance in front of me trying to get me to move. Then after all that I got to watch a decent 8 pointer come down the same trail and walk right past me and again all I could do was sit and watch couldnt move because they all had came down the trail that I didnt expect them to come from but as we all know that as is hunting or fishing you never know were they will be from day to day but you know they are always there. Well that lease was sold out from under us and hadnt hunted much for a few years but starting to get back into it now with my 13 year old son went in july and he shot a Aoudad
and I shot and axis
and doe axis
So after that got my old bow out and started shooting again in the last month I have shot 2 deer
and 1 hog
with my bow and all I want to do now is bow hunt it was such a high the first deer
a doe as before i set up on a trail were the deer
were coming through and set up in some bushes but after my first experince bow hunting i learned my lesson of were to set up on the trail. I have a 4 PVC feeder that hold 40 pounds of corn so filled it up and went and sit dowm and waited had been there about an hour and the seat was getting uncomfortable so stood up to strech my legs when I noticed behind me were 2 deer standing less than 15 yards away from me watched as they came around the bush and grunted and my first bow shot on a deer
and hour later I had my first deer with a bow. After that I shot a 40 pund hog about a week later while spot and stalking hogs made about a 10 yard shot on it while it was walking by.
A week later i went back to were i had shot the doe
and set up for a morning hunt and had what was a 8 pointer at one time but he had broken off nearly all his horns come in and go to the feeder and then he ran out in front of me and gave me a quartering shot and i made my second bow shot on a deer
and all he had left of arack was 1 on one side and 2 points on the other all the rest was broke off but as before it was so exciting to bow hunt, I'm hooked now as befor all I want to do is bow hunt now. This will defently not be my last year to bow hunt ,will be getting my son set up with his bow soon and as I am hope he will catch the bow hunting bug as I have.
Labels: texas whitetail deer, Texas Whitetail Deer Hunting, Whitetail Deer Bow Hunting
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Looking back several years ago to 2008, I can't help but think of an emotional encounter while bow hunting a small private property in the early hours of December. That morning started out just like many other exuberant hunts as I was beginning another journey into the wilderness of unknown certainty. I can think of no other adventure or aspiration than that of the outdoors with the opportunity to broaden my experience with an overwhelming anticipation to hunt. I woke up to a bit of an unusual morning that day at 4am and discovered that the cold front that had passed the previous day had left its arctic grasp in central Texas. Low clouds, high humidity and very cold conditions foreshadowed an exciting quest to hunt. Temperatures were hovering around 19 degrees Fahrenheit with an impenetrable layer of mist that froze to anything on contact. Layered thoroughly as feasibly possible, my body was prepared and my mind was set.
The sacrifices made in weather like this proved that my yearning to hunt was second to none. With bow in hand and early morning darkness on my side, I marched to my tripod stand nestled in a concentrated group of oak and cedar which was later nicknamed The Cave. My father and I had come to name this location as The Cave because of the way the trees and substantial cover were situated on a shallow down sloped bank of land. There was only one way in and one way out providing a funnel for an abundance of wildlife to flood through. The tall thick oak trees presented a shadowed canopy that was accompanied by dense cedar filling in the open space below. Situated under a large dominant oak tree was my 12 foot tripod completely oblivious to any wildlife or person around.
Established on top and prepared for another opportunity to seize the day, I prepared my mind and body for a long wintery hunt. As the mist settled and froze wherever it landed, my bow soon began to gather a thin film of clear ice. Hunkered down shivering and teeth chattering, I gathered my thoughts and prepped my mind on the potential excitement of what might come. As the sun started to slowly climb out of the eastern sky behind a thick misty morning, I could slowly start to see the shapes and contours of the wilderness around. All senses were on full alert as I knew the prime opportunity was slowly beginning to rise. The faintest of noises were heard as leaves and twigs began to crack below. I knew the moment had arrived. My mind had gathered enough information from my surroundings to know deer were nearby and making their way through this funneled array of dense cover.
Excitement within began to rise as my heart beat increased. Anticipation drew near with the possibility of the unknown drawing close. Just as the deer moved from behind a growth of cedar, I couldn't help but think of my first hunt with my father as a child and the awe-inspiring excitement I had. In a matter of seconds, 4 bucks had stepped on scene and provided an opportunity of a lifetime. As light slowly began to gather, I examined each and every buck to determine which one if any was mature enough to harvest. Of the 4 bucks
that strolled in, 2 were of maturity. I had previously ranged certain distances and knew exactly how far each and every buck was. The wind was low and by my calculations, the buck I had intended to shoot was standing 20 yards away. With every beat of my thumping heart, I slowly gathered my bow in hand and began the incredibly precise approach of locking into my target and pulling back. As I summoned my strength and controlled my breathing as best I could, I began the draw.
Frost that had assembled on my bow began to break and as I reached the break on the pull of the icy string, a faint shallow rip of noise alerted the deer
. The sound made from the pull can be best described as that of climbing into the saddle sitting on top of my horse. The muffled sound projected through the air just enough to signal the deer and place them on full alert. The break of my draw made just enough noise to scamper the bucks about 10 yards further than what I had mentally ranged them at. I quickly reexamined the distance and determined the bucks were now somewhere between 28-30 yards away. I set my 2nd pin on the mature 8 point and controlled every breath I had. What seemed like minutes, I had registered the distance, took meticulous aim and slowly squeezed my bow release. The arrow flew straight and precise in what seemed like slow motion striking the buck 2 inches behind the shoulder as it stood perfectly broadside. The arrow exited the far side of the buck
with a new color of crimson red laying several yards beyond the buck. The buck leaped high, kicked with great terror and made a 90 degree turn to run for cover.
Exhilarated and beyond belief, I found myself rapidly breathing and rejoiced that I had made a perfect kill shot on the mature buck
I had always wanted. The unbelievable emotions and uncontrollable trembling that developed was the result of pure resiliency and passionate desire called hunting. I waited for what seemed like hours replaying the previous moments over and over before I ventured out of my stand and began the most anticipated trek to locate this deer I had been so blessed to harvest. With the help of my father's friend, we located the buck approximately 75 yards away from the shot. A swarm of emotions engulfed my thoughts as I marveled at my accomplishment.
As with each successful hunt, I gave thanks to God for providing me this gift of an opportunity to hunt and harvest a beautiful animal with which I loved so admirably. My frigid body was overwhelmed with joy as I blessed this hunt to those who had helped me grow into the man I am and teach me what I knew. I feel blessed and gracious for all that I have encountered and want to continue these lessons in life for as long as I can. Hopefully I can soon experience another opportunity like this and share it to my son in the near future. I live to feel this moment and hope for more to come. Carpe diem
Labels: whitetail buck hunts, whitetail deer hunts, whitetail doe hunting
For decades the pursuit of the North American Whitetail deer has mesmerized hunters all across this wonderful continent. Its amazing to think that one species has demanded this much attention across the hunting world but its true. The whitetail deer
continues to lead men, women, and youth into the wilderness year after year in search of their next trophy. Even though a majority of whitetail hunting
takes place on an individual level there is no denying that families over the years have enjoyed the fellowship and camaraderie that comes with whitetail hunting.
The stories of a father and son going on a whitetail hunt
together will live on for many years to come. If you are involved in the hunting industry in Texas it is no surprise that it has grown immensely in the past few years. Just take a stroll through your local Wal-Mart and browse through the hunting section. When Wal-Mart stores are stocking their shelves in early August with camoflauge clothing, ammunition, and archery supplies for the upcoming hunting season that should tell you a thing or two about the economic impact hunting has on the state of Texas. I believe a good portion of these products are dedicated to whitetail deer
hunting. As the industry grows so do opportunities for hunters.
For example, some of my friends enjoy hunting public land that is available in their geographic region. This can be rewarding from the standpoint that you may not have a significant amount of money invested when you get the opportunity to harvest your trophy. The downside is that you are at the mercy of other hunters and their ethical and safe hunting habits. This can be a challenge. The shared hunting lease is a popular choice for many because it offers multiple hunters to share the cost of the lease. For instance, a private land owner may have a 2000 acre parcel that they charge $10,000/year for the hunting rights. If you divide that up between 10 people it only costs $1,000/person. Its a popular option for many Texas hunters today. The upside is that its relatively inexpensive to participate in hunting activities that year.
Coordinating hunting priority among numerous hunters can be a problem and there are usually several rules that accompany shared leases like these. The chance of harvesting that true giant may be decreased because of the competition of other hunters that share the lease with you. Keep in mind that in addition to the initial lease fee there are hunting leases that do not provide deer feeders, corn, living accommodations, etc....so you end up spending several thousand dollars on the chance to harvest a less than trophy class whitetail buck and you may be disappointed. What seems to be the most popular choice among today's whitetail
hunters is the privately owned game ranch. This option provides hunters the opportunity to pursue numerous trophy class whitetail bucks. These ranches usually have professional guides available at no additional charge to assist hunters during the hunt. It takes time to plant the food plots, hang and fill feeders, and maintain the hunting blinds. Time is one thing that the average hunter does not have to perform these necessary steps.
Many game ranches around the state are now breeding whitetail deer
. Deer breeders are helping the cause by providing superior genetics in the whitetail industry. No matter which avenue you choose to pursue your next whitetail trophy you can be assured that there are few feelings that compare to Buck Fever. Its almost indescribable to someone who has never spent time in the wild outdoors. The only experience that compares is spearing a big fish with my speargun. For me, Buck Fever sets in on the morning I wake up and get ready to climb in the treestand. Whether you're a rifleman or archer the adrenaline is ever present. I've had the pleasure of harvesting whitetail bucks
with my rifle and bow and I can honestly say there is no feeling like it in the world. It starts in the spring with the planting of high quality food plots.Whitetail deer
love highly palatable nutritious food plots. Not only are you providing great nutrition to the deer but also a great area to hunt in the fall. Game cameras help hunters keep track of deer they may have seen last year or deer they are interested in hunting this year. You can actually watch deer grow their antlers on these game cameras and it only adds to the anticipation most hunters already have. When summer comes most whitetail bucks
are in full velvet and are showing all of their antler characteristics. Its an exciting time of year and it means that hunting season is just a few short months away. For myself opening day is the first weekend in October. Lots of hard work and preparation have been put into the last 9 months and the next 3 months is fun time. Some people might think that sitting in a tree for 3 hours every morning and 3 hours every evening is a waste of time but I couldn't disagree more.
The whitetail buck
hunter yearns for nature time. Time that is spent just observing God's wonderful creation. We wait and wait and wait for the antlers to part the brushline. Each breath is counted as our every move from this point on is calculated. Whitetail deer
are so alert that the slightest mistake can end the hunt quickly. Hunting the wind is imperative during whitetail season. As deer approach I make sure that I know my distances. Once I'm in my treestand I make several reference points with my range finder so I can be ready when the deer get close. Its moments like these that can't be re-created.
As a bowhunter we live for moments like this. Its time to clip the release on the D-loop. Once you pull the bow back and get situated on the target time seems to stand still. I literally have forgotten everything up to that point. The mind is so focused at this point you could hear a pin drop. Its like the movie Matrix and everything is in slow motion. All of the work you have done to this point comes down to this shot. As the trigger releases the majestic flight of the arrow takes its path right into the vitals of your target. A few moments go by as you run the shot over and over in your head confirming that an accurate shot was made. The great reward is recovering your deer and knowing you met the challenge of harvesting a great trophy whitetail buck
. If this does not get your fire started then your wood is wet!!!!!
Labels: texas whitetail deer, Texas Whitetail Deer Hunting, whitetail buck hunts, whitetail doe hunting
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Father and Son
Our lease is just north of Jasper, TX on the Old Zavalla Hunting Club bordering the Neches River. The lanes are narrow and the cover thick. You quickly learn that opportunities are few and far between and that each deer must be assessed sometimes with only seconds to make a decision or you may never see it again. The day started out as any other, with one exception the same young boy who had to be poked and prodded to get up for school practically jumped out of bed at the first subtle sound of the alarm clock. He was the first to the sink and actually brushed his teeth without being told. As the other men rubbed their eyes and sat on the edge of the bed adjusting to the light Brandon threw on his camouflage and boots and rushed downstairs to be the first to eat breakfast. You could see the excitement in his eyes and hear it in his voice; I on the other hand couldn't stop wondering who this boy was and what he had done with my son.
November 5th, 2004 the day before his 12th birthday; this was the weekend he had been waiting for. We didn't make it to the lease for youth weekend and he knew that after 3 years of multiple trips to the gun range learning the ins and outs of his 30/30, hours in the blind with me watching and learning, the decision would be all his he was finally going to hunt alone. We made our way to small blind apply named the Junction. The area was one of few that offered a clearing and the ability to see 50 yards around a 180 degree area. I figured this offered him the best opportunity to not become bored.
The morning came and went without so much as glimpse of a deer
. We met as planned and headed for lunch, a quick trip to the Angelina Country Store a couple of Dr. Peppers, slim Jims and some trail mix and back to camp for a sandwich. After lunch Brandon was ready to get back to the stand. We picked a different location which we called The Dream stand. Again the hours came and went with little more than a few squirrels and an obnoxious crow.
November 6th, 2004 Brandon's 12th birthday and the first time he, his mother and his Sister hadn't celebrated it together. I was on a time line to Be home by 4:00 Sunday was the last thing I heard as I left the house on Friday afternoon. This time Brandon and I had agreed to hunt until the last possible minute. No quick trips to camp or the store, we packed all we needed and made the trip to a small rise on the lease named Stump. This stand offered a few advantages first of all it had two blinds; a well-placed ground blind that offered 4 separate shooting lanes and a 12 foot tower blind that offered a clear site across the young pine trees and small patches and rows between them. Because we planned to stay all day I decided to take the tower blind and had Brandon hunt from the lower box blind. The wind was moderate but the chilly damp air and light drizzle would have made it tough for him to stay comfortable and focused.
November 6th, 2004 2:00pm, the day had come and gone and now we had a decision to make. The drive home routinely took about 2 hours, I knew I had already pushed the limit a bit but with a little luck traffic would be kind and we'd make it home at a reasonable hour. I climbed down from the stand and walked over to the blind Brandon had occupied for the last 8 hours. Besides the occasional bump against its wooden frame or the minor scuffle of the chairs wheels as he adjusted he had done everything right. As I approached he smiled and said' Sometimes Dad they just don't cooperate, a rush of pride filled my soul. Here before me stood a young man, not the same boy that rushed through the morning but a young man who grew up before my very eyes that weekend. I had used that same phrase on our earlier unsuccessful hunts Sometimes son they just don't cooperate.
Through the years Brandon had only made one weekend a year. He is my stepson and between visitation and my schedule our chances were limited. I had had a chance each year on opening weekend to bring home a deer
, however each time we were together it had been a different story. I had made special plans to bring him to the lease on the opening weekend of his 12th birthday it was years worth of planning and negotiating. Another more important event had just happened, for the first time Brandon had called me Dad. His mother and I had been married for just over 7 years and until that moment I had always been Tom. My heart sank at the idea of driving home knowing that our next opportunity would a year from then. I quickly ran my through our schedule of visitation and mine with work. Our next chance would be over the Christmas holidays of January youth weekend. Our county was a doe by permit only after thanksgiving so this would greatly limit his chances on lease that saw most of the bucks go nocturnal after the rut. My only other option was to stay.
November 6th 2:15pm, without a second thought I was back in my blind and Brandon in his. Before I could even adjust my position my phone vibrated in my pocket. I knew exactly who it was and the reason for the call. I hit the ignore button and sent a quick text haven't left yet, I'll call when we do. Every thirty minutes a similar text was sent and similar reply what happened to 4:00pm. Finally the phone was silent it was 4:30 and the sun was setting quickly. Brandon had been exceptionally quiet no more bumps or scuffles. Before I knew it was 5:00 and the darkness of the piney woods had started to take over. We had at most twenty more minutes before the long drive home.
November 6th 5:10pm, without a notice a quick flash caught my eye down below. It was the barrel of a 30/30 slowly being placed on the edge of the window pointing down a narrow lane to the east. From my position I couldn't see anything though the soft pine needles which partial obscured the full length of the lane. I watched carefully trying to gage were Brandon had placed his sights. As I looked up it had come into a view a deer
slowing walking the lane straight towards the ground blind at 150 yards. Not a clean shot and I was confident that Brandon knew this as well. By now minutes seemed like hours. I was helpless as I sat there trying to focus on the deer and watch Brandon's movements out of the corner of my eye.
November 6th 5:13pm, as the deer walked the lane it came within 100 yards of the ground blind, stopping in a small winter pea feed plot we had planted earlier in the fall. As it browsed on the winter peas it maintained a head long stance to the blind. By now I could see the 30/30 barrel begin to shake. Three minutes is an eternity for a 12yr old to hold position. As the deer
made a slight turn to work on another patch of peas I felt my heart race. There it stood at 100 yards broad side head down unaware of our presence. The anticipation was numbing. I could feel myself saying, take the shot, now's your chance take the shot. It was dark now and the flash form the 30/30 below was blinding, my eyes quickly adjusted and there on a barren sandy patch of the feed plot it laid Brandon's first deer
. There are 14 rungs on the ladder stand to a 12 foot tower blind; my feet touched 4 of them. Before I knew it I was next to the ground blind and all I could see was the brightest smile I had ever seen on a young man's face. I was sure the deer was down but we waited 30 minutes until we approached. All the time high fiving and talking about what he had seen, what I had seen and how he had waited for just the right moment.
As we approached the deer with my arm on his shoulder I was sure it was a doe. When we got there it was not it was my son's first buck. The bullet had struck slightly high but otherwise perfectly placed and the buck
had not even taken a step. We loaded up and made the trip to the camp where we celebrated Brandon's success amongst friends as we prepped the deer for the long ride home. We made it to the house in record time one hour and 45 minutes not stopping once. When we got there as you can imagine we were greeted at the door to a very unhappy wife and daughter. Brandon took the lead, a Sorry mom but Dad and I just had to stay. That was all it took, My wife immediately caught his new reference to me and all was good again. We quickly lit the cake and sang happy birthday before Brandon and I headed to the processer before taking him to his father's house. You may notice I never mentioned the rack or score of the first deer my son harvested. He scored twelve, yes 12 and that a stretch. It was the ugliest spike you can imagine, broken and misshaped. The right side only a 4-5 inches and the left broken to less than an inch a spread estimated at about 5 inches. Before his next visit I had purchased a small antler kit and mounted the horns, so small that I had to pack the areas around the base so the skull was not as visible. To this day these are the only antlers my wife will allow in the living room, out of place and humorous at times to look at, but they have meaning. Not just the first deer that my son ever took, but the first time that we truly became father and son.
Novemeber 7th, 2011, Brandon is 18 as of yesterday and has started to follow his own path in life. He stopped hunting a few years back to spend time with his friends. We no longer spend those long weekends together. The Old Zavalla hunting cub is still my opening weekend trip and as a walked up on the stump this Saturday 6 years to the day that we started that weekend, it rushed through me again that this is the place I witnessed my now grown son become a man.
Labels: Whitetail Deer Bow Hunting, whitetail deer hunt, whitetail deer management bucks
My First Whitetail Buck Hunt
On january 14, 2011 the youth hunt finally came again I've waited three years to hunt a buck and I knew tommorow, and the day after tommorow I will bag a trophy whitetail deer
. I left the campsite and went to the deer blind, it was three-thirty in the afternoon I just waited to see if there was anything coming out of the wooded area but, nothing came out, all I saw were birds, rabbits, an armidillo, and a porcupine eating at the feeder.
At five-fifthy nine I was almost about to leave when I saw a whitetail doe
not to big and not to small I wanted to shoot it but, I didnt want to scare off the buck so i waited till morning. When I got back to the campsite I put my gun away and went outside with my uncle, my cousin, and my grandma. We where talking about our hunting past what was our first deer and how we felt and experiance it and talking about the hunting report and I kept on dreaming of a nice whitetail buck
with at least some points on each horn. I feel asleep at eleven pm and I think I had buck fever.
January 15, 2011 it was four-thirty a.m I got dress and I knew I will bag a buck today. Five-thirty nine a.m I went to my favorite deer blind I was hoping for a twenty point buck my uncle saw. I walked towards the deer blind and i loaded my gun and just sat back and waited for something to come out. Nine hours past I was ready to leave because nothing was coming out then suddenly there was a heavy fog so i waited for the fog to lift so I can see if anything would come out. ten minutes later the fog had lifted up a little and i saw something standing in front of the feeder til it picked up his head and I saw four points on his head. I aws shaking the deer blind and the buck
heared me. I lifted up the gun very quiet and took aim and made the shot. The smoke cleared the buck was gone and I know i shot it. My uncle called me and he said to come back to the campsite, I left the deer blind and walked back to the campsite. I hoped in the back of the truck and we drove back to the deer feeder . When we got there we started looking for any blood but there was none. My cousin sneezed and saw him on the ground. I was so happy I wanted to scream but, i didnt want to scare of the rest of the deer.
January 16, 2011 today was the last day of my hunting trip my uncle said I can shoot any thing either a buck
, or a hog
. I left the camp site and went to the deer blind, seven-thirty a.m it was time to shoot when three doe's
came out and they were eating at the deer feeder one doe was alot bigger than the other ones so I lifted my rifle and took aim on the big one . the two little ones were blocking my shot I had to wait two minutes to take the shot. The smoke cleared the doe droped in its tracks I was hoping for a hog
but, the doe is ok I tooked the doe to the campsite skinned it packed it up and then packed up the campsite and then left my uncle's ranch in Uvalde and headed back to San Antonio and told everybody about my buck and doe hunt
. School is a constant struggle for me due to my learning disability but when I am hunting or fishing I feel that I can accomplish anything it has been a great experience for me and I plan to go to college for ranch management. Thank You
Labels: texas whitetail deer, Texas Whitetail Deer Hunting, trophy whitetail buck
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
A Dream Hunt
Through out most of my life as far back as I can remember, I have always been very drawn to hunting
. I'm the only hunter in my family and am not sure where the obsession comes from. I started attempting to hunt when I was 15 years old. I was taken on a couple of hunts but was never really taught how to hunt only to be still and be quiet. In 1996, I enlisted in the Army when I was 24 years old in San Antonio, TX. My first duty station was Fort Bragg, NC 1/505 PIR 82nd ABN DIV.
While I was assigned there, a young couple moved in next door to us and come to find out that the gentlemen was in my company. A couple of BBQ's later and getting more acquainted, the subject of hunting came up. He was a big time bow hunter
from Southern New York. As we spoke more about it, he was able to help me convince my wife that it was time I really got into hunting and buy a bow. We took a couple of trips to his fathers ranch and I was educated more about hunting by him and his dad. Choosing the right tree, looking for trails, scrapes, rubs, and so on. I was finally headed in the right direction and was even more drawn to hunting than before. After a short assignment on Fort Bragg, I was assigned to Fort Hood,TX.
Fort Hood was a hunting and fishing paradise as far as I could tell. Deer
every where you looked it seemed. After about a year in on Fort Hood, we were assigned a new 1SG to our detachment. Fortunately for me, he was a big outdoorsman. Really into hunting and stuff. He took me out to a couple of spots and gave a few pointers on what to look for and what would be the best route of travel to and from certain key stand locations and finding some key deer hot spots
. That November, it all finally came about. I had hunted this one location a few times and would almost always see deer moving about. I had missed three does
already that season. Two from other sites and one from this particular stand. When I asked what could possibly be the problem, we looked the bow over, checked my pin settings and my rest. Apparently, the Nok loop I had bought that season had started slipping upwards and therefor causing my shots to be completely off resulting in arrows with hair in the fletch instead of blood on the arrow. Easy enough to fix with some nok clamps.
That friday, at the last minute, I was able to draw a rifle area and with a borrowed 30/30 took my first doe. It was something else to finally harvest my first deer
. Earlier that day, I was able to draw an archery area for saturday. After taking that doe
, I told my wife the next day I wasn't really sure I wanted to go being I had already taken a deer and living in an apartment with a small freezer over the fridge, I knew we wouldn't have room for more meat. I was also a bit skeptical because of the misses with my bow previously. Ironically, that saturday on Realtree Outdoors, Mr. Jordan's tip of the week was proper posture when hunting from a tree stand. After seeing that, my wife said, Well there you go. There's the second part of your problem, you don't have the right posture. There's only a couple of hours left in the day, why don't you just go out there, you've already got an area drawn and just see what happens. So I did.
After I got to the stand and had a seat, about five minutes later, I saw two does
coming about 100 yards out. Low and behold right behind them was a big buck
. I started shaking and I didn't know what to do. They were heading away from my stand. I pulled out a grunt tube I had recently bought and blew on it a couple of times to no avail. Really getting freaked out at this point, I remembered I had this small call in my pocket that was given to me when I first took interest in hunting at 15. I adjusted the band on the reeds to a bleat and began to rip with my hand cupped around my mouth to project the call. That got his attention. He immediately began to trot towards me. I called about three times before I put it away, stood up, put my release on the loop and waited for him to close the distance. It seemed like an eternity before he finally got to within 30 yards from me.
I saw his rack once at a distance and knew he was a big one, but didn't look at him to avoid becoming even more nervous and blowing my chance at my first buck, first deer
with a bow, and possibly my first trophy deer
. He came up head on and then immediately dropped his head to sniff around. He slowly turned broadside and I drew back, put a pin on him, and let one go. He jumped the string and I saw the arrow hit right in front on his hind quarter. As he ran off, I could see blood coming out of both sides but only the broad head was sticking out of his right side. He blew three times and then nothing. The sun was slowly starting to go down and I was sure I wouldn't be able to find him if he had run off, or that if I didn't find him, being a highly pressured area, what were the odds that someone else would find him first the next day? Over the course of 20 minutes or waiting, the sun had set and I finally climbed down, pulled out the flashlight, and began to follow the blood trail.
Of course, being that I didn't check my equipment that day the batteries lasted long enough for me to get about 50 yards from where I hit him at before I was in the dark. I immediately back tracked and headed to the jeep to head home. I was so spazmatic, I didn't know what to do. My wife said, What happened? I told her about the buck and she was completely surprised and excited for me. She did her best to help me keep the shaking to a minimum and I called the 1SG and told him what happened. He said calm down it will be there in the morning and that we would meet at that spot at first light. We arrived at that area after calling in to the game warden to let him know we were looking for a down deer
at first light.
The weather was easily in the 50's so we knew if the deer
was down, it would still be good. We went to the tree and were able to pick up on the blood trail. As we walked along, the blood was heavier and easy to find, and then nothing. I was really stressed at this point and he said, I'm going to walk ahead, you look around and see if you can find anything at all. About a minute later, I heard Holy crap! He's over here. Sure enough, there he was laid down about 100 yards from where I had shot him. A symmetrical main frame 6 with 7 1/2 brow tines, and a small kicker. I had apparently hit him in an artery and some of the intestines, causing him to expire. I had taken my first buck
; not sure what he scores but definitely a trophy for me making that my first true dream hunt. Thank GOD for Texas and the people he puts in our path to help us along the way.
Labels: escondido hunting ranch, trophy whitetail buck, whitetail doe
There was nothing like hunting
and fishing with my grandfather. I guess I just liked being in his company no matter what we were doing. We were having our annual Thanksgiving gathering in Wharton TX. My favorite part about this trip was sitting in the deer stand with my grandfather early Thanksgiving morning. My uncle would always get me revved up for the hunt the night before by telling me to watch out for cats and coyotes. He said there was a panther out there but I think he was making this up to get me a little more excited.
This particular Thanksgiving morning was in 1980 and I was 13 years old. My adrenyline was particularly high for this hunt because it was going to be the first time my grandfather was going to allow me to sit in a deer stand
by myself. We got up at 4:30 AM to be in the stand by 6 AM. I remember it being a long drive. It was a vey frosty morning, I remember being able to see my breath and there was an inch of frost on the pasture in front of my ground blind. My grandfather was worried to death when he put me in that stand by myself.
I was not allowed to load the gun until I was sitting in my stand and had to lean the gun in the corner on safety. I was not allowed to touch the gun unless I saw a white tail to shoot. He must have told me these rules 50 times on the way over to the deer lease. With a nine year old now, I understand what he was so worried about. I remember it was pitch dark and I kept thinking about that panther my uncle told me about the night before. My grandfather told me he was full of bull so I started to think about seeing a white tail deer.
The sun began to rise and I could see the beautiful frost on the ground. The wind was perfectly still. Within minutes 3 white tail spiked bucks came out of the woods to graze. This was it ! The blood started flowing. I think I could feel my own pulse rate. I picked up my grandfathers World War II era model 77 lever action Winchester 308 and laid it in the window seal. I took the safety off and aimed at one of the bucks
. Boom, the buck fell exactly were it was shot, I took aim at a second spike while it scampered to the woods and also hit that deer
in the shoulder. I unloaded the last round in my 308 and watched the last spike run to the woods. My grandfather made it to my stand about 10 minutes later.
It is now only about 7:20 in the morning. My grandfather asked me what the shooting was all about. I told him that I have to deer laying in the field. He was perplexed, we loaded up in his truck to find them and load the deer. My grandfather was very old school and he could not believe I had two shoulder shots on those spikes. I was grinning ear to ear.. My grandfather being perplexed began to laugh and asked me why did I shoot 2 deer
At 13 years old, I did not know what to say other than I could have shot 3 but I did not want to be hoggish. My grandfather had to stop the truck so that he could finish laughing. He must have told this story and what I said a 1000 times. I will never forget that hunt. No matter what kind of big game hunt I have the priveledge to go on will ever top this memory. My grandfather passed away at the age of 92. He bequethed that 308 to me and it is the only deer rifle
that I hunt with. I wish that everyone could have a grandfather like mine. Thanks for giving a forum to share such a vivid memory in my life.
Labels: texas whitetail deer, Texas Whitetail Deer Hunting, whitetail deer hunt
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