That buck looks young.
Got this old buck in Gillespie County. Forgot to get a picture of the body but he was a big one.
So, I've never shot a decent buck. My family never had a big-time lease; sometimes some uncles would have a few acres that we could hunt on, but nothing special. When I was a kid, I went on a couple of invited hunts where I could have shot a buck, but never saw one. I've shot plenty of deer: all does and spikes on friend's places towards the end of the season. And I've enjoyed the hell out of it and put meat in the freezer. This year, some colleagues had a couple of folks drop out of their opening day ritual at their ranch in Concho county. They invited me early last week, and I made it work. I left work early on Friday and headed out there.
Great time in camp, booze, grub, bull$#@!, even football on the satellite tv. Hunted both hunts on Saturday. Shot at a decent buck and missed cleanly (foreshadowing here – I’ve NEVER missed a deer. Ever.) Last hunt for me would be this morning, as I had to get back to town to catch a late flight for work.
I hunted a metal box blind, elevated about 5 feet, with several good shooting lanes. About 30 mins after shooting light, a nice mature 8 point gave me a shot. I texted my host and confirmed that he was a shooter. I was shooting a .243, and that gun has killed every deer it's been fired at. It's never needed any adjustment in the preseason - every shot has been true.
He presents a shot where he's facing left, at a bit over 100 yards. I put the crosshairs right on a heart shot, and fire. He drops almost where he stood. But he held his head up. I assumed he was a tough bird, and would bleed out in a few minutes. About 3-5 minutes pass, and his head was still up. And then, out of the blue, he hops up and runs off to the left. I lose him in brush. I scramble down and run left, hoping to get a follow up shot. I see a flash of him, then lose him again. I cuss.
I go to where I'd shot him. There's white hair, but not much blood. I decide that the only thing I can do is wait him out - hope he lays down and gives up the ghost. So I get back in the blind. I hear thunder. I check the radar. I text my friend and tell him we're gonna have to hunker down for a while and ride out some weather, and then we have to go find a deer...with a blood trail that will be washed away.
10 minutes later, the storm hit like a sonofabitch. The rain was coming in buckets, and the blind swayed in the gusts. And I began to question the wisdom of riding out a lightning storm in an elevated metal box. My friend was in a tent blind. It was....interesting. We got the crap beat out of us. Water was pooling everywhere. There wasn’t a dry patch of ground to be found. It took a good 40 mins for the worst to pass. I watched the radar, and as the rain moderated (still pretty steady), I told him we might as well call it, and look for the deer and then head back, hoping that the creek we had to cross wouldn't be too high.
He came to pick me up in the Ranger. He had rain gear on. I did not. It was still raining pretty good, so I asked if he had a garbage bag in there. He did, and I made a three hole poncho. With my hat, it kept most of my upper half dry. But that was about all it could do.
We head over to where I lost sight of the buck. I started following the line he was on when he bolted, and we spread out. We go about 150 yards, and my friend peels off to see if the buck veered. I decide to keep going. 200 yards. 250 yards. Then, about 30 yards in front of me, the buck bolts - running away, white tail up. He’s mostly just a flash of movement. I can see him run for about 30 yards, and then he disappears between two clumps of brush. I saw him for maybe 2 seconds. And I didn't even have my gun with me (remember, he's been down for 45 mins, so should be dead. And, it was still pouring, so I wasn't looking to get the gun wet unnecessarily – I left it back under cover in the Ranger). I follow up to where I lost sight of him, and then mark my spot parallel to the road; was right next to a crooked-trunk mesquite with a big busted branch.
I walk back towards my friend, who's now looking and calling for me. I tell him that I saw the buck, and want to keep going. So we go to look at where he was hiding out, to see if we can find blood. We can't. But we do find tracks in the fresh mud; we can see where he pivoted and started running. I follow the tracks to and through the gap in the brush. I lose them after another 20 yards, as the ground becomes too rocky. But they've stayed straight the whole time, so we have a line to follow.
My friend drives the Ranger around the side, to see if the buck veered. I stay on the line - with my rifle this time. We're now 500 yards into this. At this point, I'm soaked through, except for the part of my torso covered by the trash bag. My jeans are soaked. My boots are so full of water that bubbles come out the laces with each step. My feet are soaked and freaking cold. My hat is soaked and dripping water off the brim like a sonofabitch.
As I keep walking, I come to a creek bed with a moderate bank on the other side. I cross the creek bed (not as wet as I’d expected), and as I top the far bank, I see a patch of thick brush about 40 yards ahead. It looks like a good place to bed down, and it's on the line I've been walking. As I walk up to it, he pops up and starts running again. I shoulder the gun, but it's hard to find him in the scope. He's quartering away from me, at about 50 yards. I manage to get the scope on him, just inside his front left shoulder, and I take the shot.
And stays down. My friend comes driving up from the right, and looks at me motioning to ask about the shot he heard. I give him a thumbs up, he says "no $#@!ing way." I'm almost to the buck, and can see that his breathing is fading quickly, and he dies. At this point, we’re probably 600 yards from where we started.
As we go to load him, we can see what happened. My first shot was when he was facing left...and my shot went 18-20 inches RIGHT of where I aimed. My rifle was WAY the $#@! off. And my first shot hit his knee. That's it. I broke his knee. Hardly any bleeding. So no wonder he was so mobile.
My second snap shot also went right, but because I was closer, it wasn’t off as far. Instead of going in right behind his front shoulder, it went in right in front of his hindquarter, and went straight through the body cavity, exiting the neck. It took out his lungs, and that was that.
When we got back, my hosts told me that’s the longest and farthest anyone has worked to find a deer, and still found it, out at their place. So, a bit proud of that, and that I didn’t $#@!ing quit. I didn’t want to quit, because I knew I’d hit him hard, and whatever I did, I didn’t want to leave him to die without doing all that I could to find him. He's not the best buck in the world, but he's a good deer.
And we also laughed a bit, after the fact. I mean, I shot him in the damned kneecap. It wasn’t a deer hunt, it was a mob hit, like he owed me money. And when he went down the first time, he had to be thinking “$#@!! THAT $#@!ING HURT! WHAT THE $#@!!” Tough bastard got back up and ran, though. On a completely busted left knee.
We dressed and quartered him, and I put him in my cooler. This hunt had gone on longer than expected. And conditions out there were a mess; we had folks stuck at blinds, and we had to go get them in 4 wheelers. And we’re at the end of 6 miles of rough dirt road. After 3 inches of rain. And I had to get home and catch a flight. Was damned glad that I’d driven my crappy old F-150 that my wife hates, but it pays for itself at least a couple of times of year. It’s 4x4, and I damned well needed it to get out. I slid all over the road, and kicked up mud all the way onto my roof. When I finally got to blacktop, I was relieved as hell.
On the drive back, I still wore my wet clothes. Wet jeans, soaked boots and socks. It was chilly and mucky. I kinda did it as a sort of penance. If I’d $#@!ed up and not sighted in my gun, and caused that deer some unnecessary pain, then goddamit, I needed to think about that on the ride back. And on that ride, I caught up to the storms that had passed, and got to experience them again as I drove through heading east. Washed a lot of the mud off, though.
So, that’s the story of the first time I’ve shot at something with a rifle that wasn’t sighted in properly. It’s the story of my first good buck. And it’s the story of not $#@!ing quitting when you have to remedy your own $#@!-up and make it right.
I hope other folks had a smoother opening weekend.
TLDR: I shot a decent 8 point. It was a $#@!ty shot because my scope had been knocked and I hadn't re-sighted in my rifle. But I tracked down the wounded deer and brought him home. And it rained.
Last edited by Brisketexan; 11-07-2016 at 11:03 AM.
What a great tale. Glad you stayed after him and got him.
The buck is a solid 8 point and his rack is awesome considering what you went through to get him. I would rather get him the way you did then shoot some stupid doctored up, pen raised, genetically-altered hornographic buck where your biggest worry is if the pen's gate will blow closed while you line up your shot.
Great job, Brisket.
Good stuff Brisket. Those are the hunts to remember.
I've tracked wounded deer through wheat fields and bottomland in Oklahoma, cedar in the Hill Country, and cactus/mesquite up near Abilene. The worst one was four-hour ordeal in near-freezing rain in Osage County, OK tracking a wounded buck my cousin shot. Finally bled out in a plum thicket. Not much of a rack but field dressed at 238lbs. We had to drag that fat mother f'er down a hill, then across a rain soaked plowed field...worn the hell out at the end of that one. No way could I do that today.
Last edited by MalibuSheriff; 11-07-2016 at 12:44 PM.
One time I was driving south of Abilene on our way to our place in South Texas coming back from my grandmother's home in Haskell right before Christmas. It was very icy and a suburban crossed the center line after losing control. I veered hard and he hit my left front at an angle. I was in a 3/4 ton diesel, so I walked away. But for some dumb reason I had put my Browning A-Bolt .270 in the bed of my truck in a hard case. It somehow flew out of the back of my truck, busted open, and was sitting on the highway. I retrieved it.
We had Christmas at our place in South Texas. I had sighted my gun in earlier in the season at that accurate shooting bastard always had bullets touching at 100 yards off sandbags. I go to our range. Shoot once. Dead center bullseye.
That afternoon I am in a stand. There was a mature 8 under the feeder standing perfectly broadside. Easy shot off a window sill and sand bag around 115 yards. I have hunted my whole life. Never missed a deer. Had killed 100s at that point without wounding one -- deer would either drop in the tracks or run 50-100 yards after a lung shot. I shoot. Perfect squeeze where the rifle surprised me when it fired. Deer drops like a stone. I wait 30 minutes as I always do and then go to retrieve him.
I hit that deer in the back hindquarter. So, what, 3-4 feet from the front shoulder where I aimed? I guess I hit an artery because he was as dead as a hammer.
Go back to the range. Could not even hit paper. My scope rings had become loose and I guess when I shot at the range earlier it had knocked it off. I tightened them up. Moved in closer and got it sighted in. From now on I always shoot two at the range.
Just taken on my best friend's ranch near Carrizo Springs. That's his niece...
Been awhile since I hunted that place.
Sure miss those invites.
That's a great story Brisket, thanks for sharing. Good on you for not giving up on it and seeing it through!
That's insane mass cajun, some serious protein feed going on out at that ranch I guess?
They have a game biologist taking care of their management yr round. Helicopter surveys, deer captures, exchanges with other ranches to keep the gene pool thriving, cull logs on spreadsheets, you name it. I can't say I've seen protein being used (and I've hunted there for over 20 yrs), but I'm fairly certain it is.
One time I "harvested" a beautiful 10 point with perfect symmetry, 21 in inside spread, 5 & 1/2 inch bases, 7 in brow tines, and good mass. Prettiest trophy whitetail I've ever taken. We loaded it up on top of the Suburban rack and drove back to the main house where my buddy's older brother, who I had idolized, was getting the bbq pit lit. Of course I was walking on air. His brother sees the deer, walks over, looks over the situation, puts up his hand for a high five which I returned and then said and I quote, "Way to go 'Cajun'! That's a helluva cull."
He wasn't kidding and meant no disrespect.
Here's the deer...
When I look at that pic of his daughter and her deer I am reminded why he said that to me.
Last edited by cajunhorn; 11-08-2016 at 05:27 PM.
Last edited by cajunhorn; 11-08-2016 at 05:35 PM.
I killed the biggest buck of my life on his ranch. Also a cull. You don't breathe after the shot until the biologist blesses your kill. Kinda screwed up IMO but you can't argue with their results.
Big fan of shooting a couple times of year just to make sure everything is still on point.
Few years ago I was headed to freer for first hunt of the year, and buddy was headed to West Tx for mulies. I talked him into coming with me to check zero, he was reluctant as he had to get out of town. My five were in an inch or so, his first was 8" low and 8" left. Then another to make sure. Then 4 and 4. Then on. Then 2" high and off he went. He ended up shooting a really nice 4x5 iirc, first after a few years of not shooting on that place. Couldn't imagine how bad that would have sucked to gut shot that big ass mulie just because you didn't take the time to zero.
Sigh, the joys of trying to hunt low fence East TX the right way.
Our front yard buck. Weird tall rack. But dat mass - pretty big for NW Hills.
Weather should be nice Sat and Sun. Can't wait to get out of town tomorrow.
Was at Port Mansfield last weekend for a blast and cast with three friends. We hammered the redheads and pintails. Killed a few wigeons too. Got one banded redhead (not me, but my buddy). Smoked the trout under the lights. Buddy has one of the cabins on the ICW near the Land Cut. Weather was great. We ate like kings. Smoked nilgai tenderloin with crackers and cheese for apps. Fried Nilgai straps, asparagus and mashed potatoes for dinner friday night. Breakfast tacos made in the blind on a camp stove Sat and Sunday mornings. Fried trout fresh caught Sat night. Queso flameado as an app. Watched aggy lose on the tv while we ate and $#@!ed up some trout. Was a great trip.
yeah that sounds like pretty much the perfect weekend.
I was lucky enough to connect with this 8 point last Saturday! 17 1/2" inside spread and 6" browtines!
Finally made it up to the panhandle. Huge ranch weve been hunting for several years. All low fence, no feed, drive till you spot & stalk. Shot him at 300 yards. 270 wsm with 140 gr. Accubond. Was chasing a doe.
Willie; Awesome deer! That guy is a stud.
Johny, the hog was shot by one of the other guys. That is our cleaning area so he snuck into the background.
Last edited by cknight; 11-18-2016 at 09:41 AM.
Thanks guys. Hes a beauty. Weighed about 200 lbs on the hoof. Big bodied northern deer. My biggest ever.
Heading to a lease outside Raymondville in about 9 hours. Permission to shoot as many hogs as we want plus the allowed turkeys and a doe. Hunting with 3 generations of a family. Patriarch was a radioman in Vietnam who stepped on a land mine. Should be some interesting stories around the fire...
See if they'll let you shoot a Nilgai. They're pests like hogs are.
First real weekend of "hutning weather" just in time for the rut. I'll be a blind tomorrow morning. Way up in Cottle County. Muley season opens up tomorrow as well.
My nephew smoked this cull 2 weeks ago
Last edited by Kavinsky; 11-18-2016 at 09:04 PM.
Couldn't ask for a better looking morning here in East Texas. Just need the deer to cooperate now
Didn't see any nilgai but there were 7 little piggies.
A couple of these:
And these(except not these hens)
That's Mexico behind me
Had a blast. Will do again.
Small ones like that eat pretty well. Those were probably 50 to 75lbs each. I'm not a fan of the bigger boars, they are pretty nasty. But the small ones - one of the guys that hunts there took 6 2 hams, brined them, seasoned them with Tex-Joy and other stuff and smoked them like a pork butt for about 6 hours and they tasted fantastic. We took most of the meat, along with the deer to Rudy's processing in Raymondville and are having it made into sausage.
The sow we shot was probably the mama of most of those small pigs. She was probably 150lbs. We donated her - the processor will process the meat and give it to a local food bank thing. Any bigger than that and I probably wouldn't want to eat it.
After breaking two bones in my hand, thus missing out on the remainder of dove season, my blood lust is at epic levels. Work has gotten in the way up until this point, but I am heading to a ranch in Pearsal the second week of december for a good ole fashion RUT hunt. I will send pics and breakdown after the trip. Good luck out there fellas!
Rut is on in full swing in Edwards county.
A 135 inch 8 with a main beam kicker and a 150 inch 11 point went down today with a bonus Axis.
More bloodshed to come.
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