I watch a lot of Steve Rinella on Netflix. If you don’t know who that is I highly suggest looking up Meet Eater. It’s a great hunter’s education tool if you pay attention! In other words I really like the guy, and what he’s doing! Seriously great guy; would love to meet him someday! When I watch my show I can’t help, but want to kick myself for not taking the gun my uncle tried giving me. It was a custom Remington 783 bolt action with a Vortex 3-9×40 scope. It wasn’t so much “custom” as it was that he had it dipped in a beautiful Texas Flag in camo! Now how Texan can you be?!
I wanted that rifle so bad that I would always pull it out, and examine it for several minutes at a time just admiring the craftsmanship that went into the design of the pattern. As luck would have it he technically did give it to me, well literally anyway. He handed it to me one day when I was going to carry off my Savage Mark II with my unknown name brand scope which was a 3-9X40. A little too much scope for too little gun if you ask me, but I have a thing for distance shooting. Now don’t go trying to hold my TDCJ scores against me because they use reloads which isn’t a very good idea in my opinion because they’re reloaded multiple times over, and over again for each new class to save the state money. No one using their rounds is going to have a great score on the range unless you’re aiming somewhere above, below, or to the sides of your intended mark.
All in all I was one excited dude! I called up my buddy on my terrible little candy bar phone, that got horrible reception at best, and much to my surprise he answered right off! I told him what was going on, and to hurry up so we could go on our hunting trip. It wasn’t really so much of a “trip” as it was we were going a few miles out onto some of my uncle’s land to hunt white tails! Within an hour we were out on the lease, and had found a great spot to setup camp. Now anybody that knows me knows I’m not sleeping on the ground so having an air bed was vital, and I absolutely had mine! We spent that evening, and night sitting out by a small campfire I’d built while Doug threw down some bacon in a cast iron skillet.
I’ve used cast iron ever since that night for the simple reason I love how it cooks in a campfire, or stove top, and for that matter even in a grill or smoker! We sat drinking TX bourbon, and eating bacon as we shared stories about things we wanted to do later in life. The next morning the hunt was on at day break. As soon as first light was out so were we, and it wasn’t too long after that we’d spotted a decent sized adolescent buck making his way through some of the mesquite brush foraging for food. I had every opportunity in the moment to take him, but to me it was too easy of a kill. All I’d have to do is literally aim, and shoot. We’d planned on staking out near some trees a few miles down the road, and back in some of the bush we’d tagged the night before with an orange ribbon.
It was a crisp mid November morning with a foggy drizzle in the air, and oddly enough for me that made me happy. You see I don’t do extreme elements such as extreme heat, or extreme cold. If either of those are in play I’m inside guaranteed! We got settled in where we wanted to be, and hunkered down against the trees. With my back resting up against the tree I began scanning the foreground to see if I could spot any deer. We’d seen plenty of signs along the way indicating a small herd had been in the area fairly frequently. I knew in my gut it was just a matter of time before I’d spot my deer, and then I’d take him down.
I knew this wasn’t going to be easy, waiting to see if the buck we’d spotted a few miles back would actually show. It was getting frustrating as I kept calling, and putting out attractant. In fact I was getting nervous that the day may not produce any results. This was my one chance this season to get my kill, and I wasn’t going to take this beating laying down. As Doug, and I kept sharing stories of our lives, and our outlooks for the future I heard the sweet sound of a buck rutting, and admittedly I was pretty damned excited because for one I’d never seen one rutting before, and with him being close by, I knew I had a pretty good chance at seeing it for the first time! That may sound corny to some, but bear in mind I didn’t start hunting deer until I was 27.
As Doug, I made our way down the path the sound of rutting got louder, and louder. Finally we got a lot quieter, and began listening using only hand signs if we heard, or saw something. Just then there he was, about 30 yards out, and I was in peak position to take my buck. At first glance I took him for about 10 points. It wasn’t until a few moments later I got a glimpse of 10 points on his head. That’s no kind of record, but deer that big on that particular lease is pretty rare. Usually 8 points is the highest number right there for some unknown reason.
In that very moment as I quietly chambered my round I took in a deep breath, and let it out a few times. I was really nervous at this point because he appeared to be coming to a stop on his rut, and I was afraid he might catch my scent, and it’d be over. If there’s one thing I hate it’s losing, and I wasn’t about to let a deer get the better of me today.
I sat down against a tree that gave me a pretty good vantage point on him. As I shouldered my gun I couldn’t help, but thank this guy for what he was about to do, and what he had already done, and that was put meet in my freezer, and he’d allowed me to see him in the rut which was a first for me!
Just then he looks directly at me, and I’m certain I’m done for, and he’s about to run. Instead he turned directly where I wanted him his side facing me. In the split second my finger pulled the trigger, and the bullet left the chamber I had no doubts this deer was mine! BAM! It was a shot right to the heart! He went down right after a quick high jump. Doug ran up on me giving me a congratulatory high five as we walked down to where this beautiful buck was waiting.
As I stood in awe of my kill I told Doug he was my first buck over 8 points, and to me that was exciting. As we made our way back to the camp I began wishing we would have taken a Gator with us so we could at least have a ride back, but a noise like that could easily scare off any other deer that were still around even after that gunshot. Still I was damn proud of myself, and tonight we would feast!
Back at the camp we butchered the buck, and hung the bags in the trees mostly because we don’t any wild hogs that may roam up. Their time was coming, but not just yet. After a short break to regroup our thoughts we decided to scout ahead, and go back out at sunrise again. This time Doug would be going for his. At sunrise I decided it would be a good opportunity to do some bow hunting so I reached into the truck, grabbed my bow, and rack, and we took off once again on foot after having done some scouting the night before when we had spotted what very well could’ve been the herd we’d been tracking. Being a mile away from the camp I figured this would be our last day out, and with me planning on taking a hog that day I decided I would do the walk back to get the truck, return to camp, do some cooking, and head back the next day at sun up.
As Doug took himself a nice 10 pointer, I took on a hog that ended up weighing in at 83 pounds, and I have to tell ya if you think I was nervous over shooting the buck, imagine my heart rate when I saw this bore hanging out with four others. Granted I knew the minute my arrow hit him they would most likely scatter, but in the meantime I had to contend with the fact they could easily detect me, and make a mad dash for me. That would’ve been rather unpleasant! However that didn’t happen, and that night back at camp we found ourselves chowing down on some super tender deer steaks, and a few slices of pork butt.
The next morning it was time to break down, and head back home. After a quick spot of coffee, and breaking down the camp we made our way back. Overall I ended up giving away well over half of the meat I’d taken home, and I was still plenty satisfied with my haul, especially after it all came back from processing! Most hunters have a friend or a friend of a friend who either owes you, or then a favor, and that favor usually works out well during season when you need some work done! Now that story doesn’t begin to compare to the story of the time we took two of my nephews on a dove hunt, and the laughable events that followed, but that’s another story for another time.
Now a lot of people that “know” me still don’t know that I actually enjoy being a sportsman, and didn’t even know I knew anything about guns on any level, but I just so happen to be enough of a sportsman, and gun enthusiast that I get by without anyone babysitting me. In fact I can probably think of about five people that if they actually read this they’d probably end up arguing some part of my story thinking they know me, but the truth is they don’t, and I’m okay with that. I love that people think they know me just because they knew me at one time, or they know my social media presence.
If you ever find yourself down around the red river area especially down around Wichita County then find you someone with some land they’ll let you hunt on, and you’ll find an abundance of white tail, mule deer, turkey, hog, tons of great fish, coyotes if varmint hunting is your thing. Not to fail to mention you’ll get to see some beautiful scenery as the landscape starts a small transition into the deep woods of North Texas that ends up becoming the gorgeous Piney Woods of East Texas where there’s definitely some great hunting.
Until next time everybody God bless, and take care!